Little Giants

Good things turn up on small runways—here were the six Paris
collections that made our headlines.
Maybe it was the tempestuous weather that put a slight damper on Paris Fashion Week. And even though the paparazzi was once again teeming and the store openings and anniversary parties still busting at the seams, the atmosphere of the longest running of the fashion weeks this year was a bit more somber and quiet than those of the past. Even so, the vibe seemed to work in favor of the smaller, less conspicuous shows, because even though the world's fashion capital has a reputation for broadcasting the biggest and most spectacular of the world's designers, it's also the touchstone for smaller talents with equally strong voices. Check out our list of Paris shows you might not have read about in the blogs and papers.
Isabel Marant, American Girl
Pure Americana was the theme for Isabel Marant's spring/summer '09 show, with a soundtrack that included Blondie, Joan Jett, Prince, and even Bow Wow. Patchwork prints were layered with denim jackets and bottom-bearing shorts, while the sexy, relaxed and stretch trousers that Marant is known for came in a mix of plaid prints. A wealth of crochet and lacy shirtdresses were also on display, and all of it was accessorized with a new set of signature "it" boots that the designer's intrepid followers will be donning en masse come spring: slouchy suede embellished with strands of silver chains. Stéphane Lancien and Karim Rahman were on hair and makeup duty, respectively, giving the models a clean, freshly scrubbed look with pretty, flowing locks. While the show wasn't a departure from anything she's done in the past, it doesn't matter, because Marant did what she does best: crafting gorgeous clothes that are meant to be worn, and make us feel amazing.
Dévastée, Paris Nevermore
The press release begins: "Your mind is black. Your eyelids are black, on the inside and on the outside. Your tongue, which is not oxygenated anymore, serves as a delicious feast for small insects that you would have found adorable if your attention was not focused on this fashion show." (Ji-Bêt for Dévastée. 2008)
And so set the tone for Dévastée's latest RTW presentation, set in the dungeon-like stone-walled ambiance of the Showcase club, hidden under the Pont Alexandre III. Only what followed wasn't macabre, or morbid, or even fit for a dungeon. Instead attendees got was a heavy dose of lovely, wearable clothes in a classic palette of black and creamy white, and appropriate for a perfect spring day. Soft crepe and hammered silk dresses were coupled with insignia-embellished jackets and simple satin belts, while black and white stripes served as the punctuating print of the collection. Referencing Mishima's Death in Midsummer, and Chloe Delaumes's Dans ma maison sous terre as the read inspirations behind the collection, the duo struck a balance between their now iconic fixation on mortality and creating beautiful clothes that every girl wants to wear.
Bruno Pieters, Springtime Structure
Bruno Pieters spring/summer collection was a relatively brief affair of 25 looks that included a subtle yet steady dose of shimmer and shine, and a color palette that was strictly black and white. Intensely strong, squared shoulders balanced upon architecturally structured silhouettes, with deep V-necks and color blocking adding to the final, geometric effect. Angles were peaked and pointed at various places, which brought a certain severity to the garments, but also a sense of unity to the overall collection. While the stark colors and sharp angles brought an almost masculine vibe to the overall theme, the final result was decidedly feminine and très sexy. Photos via
Anne Valérie Hash, Grecian Goddess
Anne Valérie Hash's collection was a transition of colors, beginning with simple white and cream, moving to peach and clay tones, peaking with a crimson red dress, and then slipping back down to gray then black. It was a series of deftly draped dresses that were fluid and relaxed, matching the backdrop of the show itself. Hash's range of fabrics were light and gauzy, Grecian-like in style and gathered at the neck, with only a few more structured examples, such as a series of two-piece suits and jumpers with strong rounded shoulders and simple zip-front closures. We loved it. Photos via
AF Vandevorst, Inside Outside
Jessica Rabbit red-lined lips were the focal bright shot of color amid the initially somber gray, black, and white theme that comprised the first half of the A.F. Vandevorst show. The team's iconic white button-down shirts were coupled with menswear vests both lengthy and shrunken, perfectly tailored trousers, and a heavy dose of black satin. The real departure from the classics, however, came in the form of ultra-sexy bras, slips, and knickers, which were full on and in full view. While some looks only gave a hint of lacy lingerie, others made it the focal point, garter belts and all. The collection and palette became softer and more varied as looks continued on, but the inside remained on the outside throughout. Photos via
Gaspard Yurkievich, "Y"
Gaspard Yurkievich once again set the stage for his spring/summer collection by using Dani Siciliano's acoustic vocals as the musical accompaniment, joined this season by a choir of six men. The color palette was a mix of pearly white, sandy and gray beige, ecru, and black all mixed up with loud pops of shocking pink and orange. Classic and bourgeois lines were mixed with a touch of '70s glam, resulting in some looks that appeared architecturally rigid and others that were more softly draped. The metallic touches were inspired by the Art Deco movement, and a silver transfer added depth to the black silk and tweed jacquard design.
Good things turn up on small runways—here were the six Paris collections that made our headlines.

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