Print it large for next summer

PARIS, Oct 4, 2007 (AFP) - Prints are shaping up to be an essential part of the wardrobe for next summer, with all the big names in Paris ready-to-wear this week making them a core of their collections.


Models present creations by French designer Anne Valerie Hash during Spring/Summer 2008 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris - Photo : François Guillot/AFP

Another reason to celebrate for the house of Leonard, which has just been bestowed the accolade of "enterprise of living heritage" by the French state in recognition of its unique contribution to prints for the past half century.

Daniel Tribouillard, its founder, is proud of its number one position among top French luxury brands in Asia for its clothing sales, he emphasised to AFP backstage before his show on Thursday.

He puts its enduring appeal in Asia down to his own love affair with the Far East for the past five decades. "My Japanese friends tell me I must have been born Japanese in another life. I regularly visit Japan and China and I have my suppliers who send me books, kimonos -- thanks to that I am always renewing my collection."

He is intimately familiar with every fold in the kimono throughout its history but his own reworkings of the garment are "contemporary, more practical -- to start with you can sit down."

For summer 2008, though, Veronique Leroy, who designs the clothes, tuned into the current fascination with the sarouel, with its draped hips and tapered legs. Full-length and short versions like bloomers cuffed at the knee came in a Coptic inspired print in fuschia, turquoise and white.

Equally flattering were strappy sundresses and wispy floral-print frocks in silk chiffon, with fluttering ties, sometimes threaded with lurex.

Solid colour raw shantung jackets had vibrant print linings, silk jersey was spattered with sequins or over-embroidered and footwear came in matching prints.

Even Terry towelling was printed for swimsuits and beachwear crying out for a Mediterranean blue sky.

Croatian designer Ivana Omazic for Celine was one of the few this week to buck the trend for prints, choosing a sober palette of single colours, white, stone with the odd flash of vermilion or shocking pink.

She showed clingy stretch lycra tank tops and T-shirts over full skirts, A-line or gored, some with a wide horizonal band at the hem and just a glimpse of layered petticoats peeping out beneath.

Hemlines dipped at the back while waists were raised on empire-line frocks with ruched bodices.

The silhouette was spare and uncluttered but with eye-catching details, like corsetry boning to shape a skirt or double bands of wide ribbon across the back of a halterneck evening gown.

French designer Anne Valerie Hash also went for classic neutrals, like taupe and pearl grey, for her linen city catsuits with dropped waistlines and delicate puffed sleeves, ballerina tutus and satin blousons.

Rather than the sarouel, she showed knickerbockers in mustard yellow and grey satin alongside easy wide pants.

The high, clunky platforms which have been seen everywhere this week were also her choice of footwear, but instead of ankle straps they looked as if they were attached to the models' feet with bandages.

The Japanese label Zucca was caught in a time warp circa 1967, all crushed velvet flares, headbands over long flowing Pre-Raphaelite hair, Indian mirror work on cotton pique and Madras checks, which would not have been out of place in San Francisco in the Summer of Love.

by Sarah Shard

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