Mar 11, 2009
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From Russia with love by Kenzo

Mar 11, 2009

Kenzo - fall-winter 2009/2010
PARIS, March 11, 2009 (AFP) - The romance of the Russian steppes captured the imagination of Antonio Marras for his autumn-winter collection for Kenzo, the label par excellence for de-luxe nomads, shown on Wednesday March 11.

The invitation to the show came in the shape of a Matroshka doll, whose traditional colourful floral decoration turned up on the catwalk in pretty tiered printed silk frocks and a chunky knit coat bordered with big flowers in dusty pastel pinks and blues.

Some patterns had the faded quality of dusty carpets rolled up and forgotten in dachas.

For a harder urban edge, there were graphic Russian constructivist prints in blocks of red, black and brown with overstitching, and military-styled great coats and fatigues in khaki wool felt, all frogging and pocket flaps.

And to keep out the harsh Siberian cold "Dr Zhivago" style, what could be more Russian than fur. Hemlines were trimmed with it, sleeves swathed in fur muffs, hands stuck in fur patch pockets, even footwear and shoulder bags the size of poacher's game pouches came in fur.

Lebanese designer Elie Saab was similarly undeterred by the vocal anti-fur lobby in Paris this week, giving lacy tops luxuriant sable sleeves and perching fur capes on his red-carpet creations.

But overall he went for a long, lean, uncluttered silhouette with a noticeable absence of bling.

For daytime he offered curvy dresses with puffy little cap sleeves emphasising the shoulders and cinched with cummerbunds or wide patent belts in putty and black.

Pants draped over the hip as wide as jophurs, falling into folds deep enough for pockets, an idea he also used on a crushed black velvet ball gown.

Most of his evening gowns were less adventurous variations on the same theme, with tightly ruched or draped bodices and deep cleavages, whether a crisscross of ties or singled-shouldered exposing swathes of flesh. Glamorous, but safe bets, in a choice of black, jade and violet.

Daughter of the radical fashion guru Yohji Yamamoto, Limi Feu seems happy to go her own sweet way and showed a fresh, pretty collection, with some quirky twists.

Perhaps she was inspired by the uniform of Parisian waiters for her opening white shirts with double-breasted waistcoats over cropped pants. A black tie and waistcoat was abbreviated to mid chest, or reduced to a narrow band at the back and two flaps in front. Tongue in cheek and sexy at the same time.

The same goes for her pairing of half a raincoat, belted and buttoned to half a fluffy pink angora sweater, over layered ballerina skirts.

Other oddball combinations integrated hot pants into a mini grey wool coat.

Lurex threaded black and violet tweed, slip dresses in matt and shiny diamond print, and bulky asymmetric knits belted together in charcoal grey and sailor stripes, with a single dangling sleeve, projected a vision of femininity, even vulnerabilty, with something much edgier.by Sarah Shard

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