Story Filed: Saturday, October 05, 2002 2:33 PM EDT
PARIS (AP) — With acrobats in bikinis and tights swaying on swings in the background, French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier dedicated his summer 2003 ready-to-wear show to the artist Alexander Calder, famous for his mobiles and circus scenes.
Saturday’s circus show was fascinating entertainment, but proved distracting from the main attraction, Gaultier’s new fashions, which were fluid and full, but featured a few tight trousers.
Gaultier’s fashion attracts attention, including plenty from celebrities like Madonna, who loved his bustiers. Saturday’s show was no exception as it roped in French stars like actresses Valerie Lemercier and Josiane Balasko. American singer and actress Bette Midler was also there.
Toppers in tiger patterns were full and swingy, as were the lace or silk beribboned tunics. Trousers were so low-waisted that they were more daring than the brief outfits worn by the trapeze artists.
There were baggy pants with shepherdess tops, as well as hot pants and naughty, lean and long pants.
Skintight pants revealed the tops of undies and bikini bottoms. Toppers were sometimes transparent and quite pretty as ruffled, short pullover blouses.
Lacy, snakeskin-patterned tights or lace-up boots completed some of the micro looks.
Where were the items that more conservative clients might want? Looking hard, there was an excellent short trench coat, or dressy numbers like silky large toppers with ethnic patterns, all with appearance of easy to wear with Gaultier’s slim trousers.
Another party idea was the short, pleated skirt with a well-cut black tails-style dress jacket.
Clements Ribeiro’s show for Cacharel was right on target for sales. Young, colorful and fresh, it could appeal to beachgoers all over the world.
Backstage, Brazilian-born Ribeiro said, “I’m aiming for something that’s funky and wonderful.” His program reminisced about the days of Brigitte Bardot and Jean Seberg at St. Tropez.
Styles were short, cool and easy, including a flowered cotton tank top-mini worn over a striped long-sleeved T-shirt.
Striped sailor shirts in sunny colors from hot red to turquoise came off well, especially with white minis that had cargo details — pockets and zips.
The leggy look for the young was great. Models wore white leather shorts with various blouses in an attractive multicolored circular print.
Good beach coats, dresses in sheer point d’esprit, white terry cloth bikinis, plus pink shorts with feathery cover-ups made with silk swatches espoused fun and frivolity.
A group of separates in very pretty madras plaids completed the appealing summer collection.
Another summer show was by Laetitia Hecht at Guy Laroche. The house had seemed to flounder after Laroche died in 1989, but Hecht is giving it a new allure.
The show, with styles evocative of the film “Out of Africa,” was held under a safari tent in the Palais de Chaillot. It was magical — as long as you didn’t choke on sand that wafted up from the runway.
The safari-style clothes were good-looking, if not always rugged. Think of beige hipster pants with a large hip belt, a bare midriff and a fitted taffy leather jacket. Or slim white pants with a long ivory cable-knit pullover.
The guide in Kenya might laugh, but wearing this gear to a Paris cafe or a party in the Hamptons would likely draw compliments.
Lots of cargo pants turned up here in khaki and light colors, as well as a true cotton safari pantsuit in classic cut.
The safari-inspired clothes included black pants and lacy tunic tops, and short dresses in filmy fabrics with big hip girths, in caramel, clay and blue desert-sky shades.
Gala looks ended the show handsomely; there were jewels, art-decor breastplates and high jet chokers.
Stella Cadente’s show was a psychedelic take on “Alice in Wonderland.” There were plenty of short dresses, some of them in pastel feathers. Hot-colored layers of tulle showed off some good-looking lingerie underneath.
It was a colorful — and suggestive — interpretation of the children’s classic.
Copyright © 2002 Associated Press Information Services, all rights reserved.