Paris Fashion Week : Christian Dior, Cerruti and Smalto

PARIS, July 2, 2007 (AFP) - Christian Dior's new designer Kris van Assche unveiled Sunday, july 1st his debut collection for the 60-year-old House, returning to the drop-dead elegance of its founder and 1950s style Hollywood razzmatazz.




Models present creations for Dior during his Spring-Summer 2008 men's ready-to-wear

collection show - Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


The showing, the most eagerly-awaited event at the Paris men's fashion run for next spring-summer which ended Sunday, saw the young Belgian use subtle tweeds and time-tested greys with tongue-in-cheek adaptations.

Impeccable tailoring and silhouettes were on show, even on take-offs such as trousers with six-inch-high turn-ups, suits and tuxedos teamed up with pleated diaphanous pants tapering down effortlessly to the ankle: North African style or the Indian dhoti -- take your pick.

The shoes were take-offs on the 1950s -- an array of two-toned brogues, one of which was embroidered with black and white beads, resulting in an almost diamante effect.

"It's my masterpiece," van Assche said in an interview, referring to the unique pair, showcased in a lit niche. "It's the end in ultimate luxury."




Model present creations for Dior during his Spring-Summer 2008 men's ready-to-wear

collection show - Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


The 31-year-old underlined that the collection aimed to pay "homage to Mr Dior," and bring back elegance, grace and luxury "although I am very conscious that we are living in an era of generation sportswear."

"I find that my role is to offer an alternative. Dior's image has for me always been to try and make men as elegant and as handsome possible. This has been work on a new allure, a new elegance that I have tried to show today."

Much of the work -- classed into day-, afternoon- and evening-wear even hailed back to the past: single-breasted tweeds opening out at the front like frock coats, narrow lapels with an overlaying layer and trousers ending well before the ankle but lower than the plus-fours of the Roaring Twenties.




Model present creations for Dior during his Spring-Summer 2008 men's ready-to-wear

collection show - Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


White pique shirts with softly rounded collars abounded. A few sported irregular pleats while one had vertical stitches along the back, evoking the rays of the sun.

Van Assche decided to present his first collection as the top man at Dior Homme on live models, but not as a catwalk show because ramp shows got over in a flash.

"I also wanted to pay homage to Mr Dior who in his time called clients into the salon to do exactly this, to look at the models from close-up," he said.

Van Assche replaces Hedi Slimane, a French designer who revolutionised the house's fashion for men with his slim silhouette, high collars and narrow black suits much favoured by veteran rock stars David Bowie and Mick Jagger.




Model present creations for Smalto during his Spring-Summer 2008 men's ready-to-wear

collection show - Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


Two other designers also unveiled their maiden collections -- one for Cerruti and the other for Smalto.

Smalto's Korean-born designer Youn Chong Bak showed off an earthy but discreet palette with the shades wavering between white, beige, oatmeal, sand and grey and of course the quintessential black.

Innovations abounded with deep U-fronted waistcoats with ultra-short backs and flappy sides. One waistcoat was minimalist with merely a suspender for a back and buttoned down on both sides at the front. There were lapels added to shawl collars.




Model present creations for Smalto during his Spring-Summer 2008 men's ready-to-wear

collection show - Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


A bomber jacket ensued, followed by razor sharp trench coats, the sheerest shirts in pastel shades and an exquisite chemise dotted with a delicate butterscotch butterfly-like motif.

She reinvented the Smalto shoulder, making it straighter and covering it with a seamless fabric yoke or satin over smocking. But the piece de resistance which ended the show was a tapered dinner jacket with razor-thin lapels and upturned collar.

Nicolas Andreas Taralis' line for Cerruti mixed Sherlock Holmesian caped coats with skintight trousers, see-through black shirts accessorised with short cloaks and a black jacket with grunge allure, resembling a crushed plastic bag.

Taralis adorned his trousers with broad black fabric belts reminiscent of ultra-large cummerbunds and used Twiggy look alike women models to show off the pencil-thin contours of his suits -- reminiscent of Slimane's work -- perhaps to make the point that the offerings were unisex.

The hectic Paris fashion run opened with iconoclastic designers Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano in combat mode bringing military flair to the five-day event.

Gaultier paid tribute to the Beatles' legendary "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," celebrating its 40th birthday this year, while Galliano's rough and ready soldiers of fortune meantime donned beige military pants over camouflage-covered blousons. by Abhik Kumar Chanda

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