Mar 1, 2012
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From Renaissance to 1970s at Paris fashion week

Mar 1, 2012

PARIS - Designers took the fashion crowd time-travelling, from a Renaissance hunting party to the 1970s punk scene via antique kimonos, on day two of Paris' ready-to-wear shows on Wednesday.

Dries Van Noten - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

Darling of the fashionista pack, the Belgian Dries Van Noten, crafted a trademark blend of feminine and masculine for autumn-winter as he paired Asian-inspired fluid silks with military blazers, slim coats and tapered pants.

Van Noten took antique Japanese and Korean clothes photographed at London's Victoria and Albert Museum as his starting point, but digitally reworked the images to create original motifs in riotous tangerine or turquoise.

"We went from 2D to 3D to create contemporary pieces, so we played at using the hem of a coat as the main theme of a dress, for example," he explained backstage.

Bright patterns were hemmed in between panels of demure navy, military green, or black, on long-sleeved blouses, high-necked fine pleated dresses or coats.

Ethereal numbers like a flowing ankle-length dress with golden embroidery at its ruff neck and shoulders, alternated with more self-contained looks like a military blazer over apron and cigarette pants, all in black.

Lacquered tortoise-shell on shoe heels, tips and tongues added a retro feel, but the show's soundtrack, whose lyrics spoke of time slowing down, was closer to capturing the essence of the collection.

With statuesque figures in romantic ruff necks, cloaked in smooth suede and leather, the 30-year-old Damir Doma made an impression earlier Wednesday as he whisked Paris back to the Renaissance -- also with an eastern twist.

Damir Doma AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

In black, rust, camel or dusty pink, Doma's Elizabethan-inspired creations paired delicate hand-pleated collars and billowing silks, with manly tailoring in the cut of pants and jackets.

Suede desert pants and ample skirts, laced together with wide stitches, were tucked into soft, Robin Hood boots or paired with pointed slippers, under ample, cape-style jackets.

Fur jackets overlaid with breastplates alternated with kimono-style coats for a look part Samurai, part Renaissance hunting party.

"It's a modern Renaissance collection," the Croatian-born, German-raised designer told AFP, explaining he blended oriental and Western references, while injecting a "futuristic edge".

Leather in all its glory was the backbone of the punchy, sensual look from Portugal's Felipe Oliveira Baptista -- also a designer for Lacoste -- whether on a second-skin sheath dress, or a buttery wraparound coat.

Oliveira Baptista - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

Even the glossy plastic-looking fabric that cropped up on the skirt of wool coats, in graphic panels on short skirts and dresses, or on shoulder-high gloves -- was in fact varnished leather, backed with jersey.

"But that's what luxury is about, right?" quipped Oliveira Baptista explained backstage.

The designer -- who last season took a skydiver's suit as his starting point -- said this time he went looking underground for inspiration.

"I used the idea of underground things, the counter-culture, punk, the art magazines of the 1970s. But I wanted to work all these elements into a real woman's wardrobe."

Stretchy-looking second-skin numbers had punky zebra stripes in black or red running down from the neckline, above pointy-tipped leather platform boots, intended as "part cyberpunk boot, part cowboy boot."

Later at the French house Rochas, designer Marco Zannini also drew on the 1970s to wrap his models head to toe in autumnal colour and prints -- right down to their opaque tights in patterned red or gold.

There was barely a white or black in sight as Zannini worked through a retro palette from mustard to rust and aquamarine, matching demure ribbed sweaters or brocade tunics with pleated A-line skirts or flared pants, hair in wispy ponytails and outsized shades.by Emma Charlton

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