Debuts for Egypt, Taiwan and British rising star in fashion week

PARIS, Sept 25, 2008 (AFP) - An Egyptian designer will be showing for the first time in the Paris ready-to-wear collections for next summer, which kick off at the weekend.


Sonia Rykiel fall-winter 2009 - Photo : PixelFormula

Other newcomers making their debut in the French capital include a rising British star and a new label from Taiwan.

Midway through the hectic round of 93 shows and presentations, on October 1, the knitwear queen Sonia Rykiel is throwing a gala evening at the Saint Cloud park outside Paris to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her house.

The collection -- designed by Gabrielle Greiss under Sonia Rykiel's supervision -- will also include around 30 silhouettes signed by other top designers in homage to Rykiel, her house said.

The glitzy event, including a dinner followed by a party for 500 celebrity guests, will be one of the hottest tickets this season.

Pierre Cardin, who had been scheduled to show in Paris, decided at the eleventh hour to unveil his collection at his fairytale palace at Theoule-sur-Mer on the French Riviera on October 6, the day after fashion week ends. Editors and entourage will be specially flown out for the day.

Egypt's Marie Bishara, creative director of the Bishara label, which is well-established in the Middle East, has set her sights on the European market. The label, founded in the 1960s, employs 1,500 people.

For her debut outside Egypt, she will be showing "a more European collection, not at all ethnic," a spokeswoman told AFP.

According to the organisers of fashion week, the French Fashion Federation, she will be the first designer from Egypt to show on the Paris catwalks.

The Taiwanese label Shiatzy Chen, founded in Taipei 30 years go, describes itself at being at the crossroads "combining the poetic aura of the East with the craftsmanship of West".

The label, which has 50 retail outlets in Taiwan, also has a foothold in China and Paris and wants to develop its "neo-Chinese chic" on the international market.

Much vaunted up-and-coming British designer Gareth Pugh, 27, has decided to cross the Channel, following in the footsteps of John Galliano at Dior and Alexander McQueen to name but two predecessors who made the leap.

Part of the impetus came from winning a major fashion prize put up by ANDAM, the French national association for the development of fashion, worth 150,000 euros (220,000 dollars).

A graduate of the Central Saint Martins design college in London in 2003, he made his debut in 2005 and is known for designing stage costumes for the singer Kylie Minogue

The new Anglo-Japanese design duo at Cacharel, Toyko-based Mark Eley and Wakoko Kishimoto, will be staging their first catwalk collection for the vintage French label.

Thai Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, who made her debut last spring before a tuxedoed audience in the Paris Garnier opera house, has chosen another grand venue for her second collection, the ballroom of the luxurious Intercontinental hotel.

Quirky Dutch pair Viktor and Rolf have decided to opt for a "virtual" present on the programme. They are unveiling their show, filmed in the salon of their "virtual" house on the Internet.

This season will also see the last show by Ivana Omazic for Celine. The Croatian designer is being replaced by Britain's Phoebe Philo, the former artistic director at Chloe, who is returning to the fashion scene after a three-year absence.

Fellow British designer Hannah MacGibbon meanwhile is to sign her first collection for Chloe, where she took over in March from Sweden's Paulo Melim Andersson.

By Dominique Schroeder

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