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Fall Ready-to-Wear Tries “Poor-Girl” Retro Looks

March 12, 1993

PARIS (AP) _ Look chic if you like, but it’s better to look just plain poor.

Winter ready-to-wear displayed Friday to open a week of shows featured a poor-girl look and lower prices tailored to the current hard times, which translated into a 5 percent drop in sales from 1991 to 1992.

From the house of Jean-Louis Scherrer to Bernard Perris, the gray-black philosophy of ″less is more″ rules in recession-bound Europe.

Retail prices now range range from $600 to $1,000, instead of starting at $1,000 as in the past.

Japanese designer Hiroko Koshino led off the week with caveman and hippie- retro lines, mainly featuring dark gray and cafe-au-lait shades. She is one of at least 10 Japanese showing during a hectic week of at least 80 shows.

Koshino’s more colorful striped knits and wraparound layered looks recalled styles of the 1970s.

She showed a few terrific alpaca coats, some with a kimono look, others with fringe.

There were plenty of tie-dyed lines in rough-knit fabrics, and long skirts or tunics and pants, often in heavy cable-knit patterns. But it all looked better for an unheated hut than a modern home.

Jean-Louis Scherrer’s new ready-to-wear designer, Emmanuel Chaussade, comes straight from the house of Scherrer, having been an assistant for several years.

His early results were not very exciting and more often looked like watered-down versions of the old Scherrer, or even Japanese Hanae Mori, than something to give new credit to the house.

The majority stock-owners of the house, Seibu and Hermes, ousted Scherrer himself last year. Erik Mortensen produced a creditable summer haute couture collection in January.

While Chaussade’s clothes often looked wearable - as in a gold-flecked jacket and pants or a salt-pepper tweed maxi coat belted high at the waist - they also had a cheap touch in some of the buttons and lace that looked straight from a flea market.

″We had to save the house, and the clothes will cost somewhat less,″ said Kuniko Tsutsumi, the president of Seibu-Europe.

″The clothes will retail for about 10 percent less than before,″ she said.

Seibu’s ostensible reason for firing Scherrer from his own house was that his extravagant clothes exceeded the house’s budget and were hard to sell from the boutiques.

Perris, meanwhile, showed his line out of his shop near the Champs-Elysees.

″Yes, look subtle and chic, but don’t look poor,″ he said.

This 49-year-old designer’s clothes are well-known for their fine finish and excellent details.

This year, he likes the look of riding jacket jodphur themes, a few puffy and quilted tops and well-cut trompe l’oeil jackets with a vest effect underneath.

Long ribbed-knit charcoal coats, spencers, blousons and maxi skirts or tunics can be paired up at will. But they, too, are always in subtle shades of blue, green or dark grays and blacks.