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Femininity Keynote of Summer Couture

January 19, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ Soft and alluringly sexy are the way couturiers see women and their clothes for next summer in early sneak previews of haute couture shows.

Designers are frantically stitching up hems - very short - for the shows that get under way this weekend. Luxury clothes are more feminine than ever: softer shoulders, deeper decolletes, flounces and embroideries.

The shows will be more Italian than ever, with Gianfranco Ferre now haute couturier for Dior, and Angelo Tarlazzi designing for Guy Laroche’s couture house, following Laroche’s death last winter.

Gianni Versace also is giving a show of his ″Atelier″ styles and a gala dinner at the Hotel Ritz on Saturday night.

″Paris is the best showcase,″ said Versace, who displayed his furred and fussy clothes on mannequins at a museum last season but considers this show with live models his real Paris couture debut.

But Italians won’t be grabbing all the headlines.

Fashion-watchers are looking forward to the Lanvin show with French designer Claude Montana at the design helm. Will the avant-garde creator produce the kind of opulent elegance usually seen at this venerable house? They’ll find out on Tuesday with the Lanvin show near the Ecole Militaire.

As the first French couturier to breech the Iron Curtain, Pierre Cardin has manufactured and sold clothes in the Soviet Union for several years. He was instrumental in helping set up a French model agency, ″Glamour,″ there last fall, and he encouraged the Soviet government to accord professional status to models.

Besides higher hemlines, the upcoming 25 couture shows include billowy organzas by Ferre for Dior, and sexy, draped and structured shapes in silk at Givenchy.

Hanae Mori, celebrating her 35th year in fashion, is kicking up her heels with some shorter, knee-revealing styles, which is new for this usually conservative Japanese designer.

Louis Feraud plans to show off garden-party girls in fluid dresses with appliqued leaves, but also revealed a bit of bare midriff in a little silk suit with graphic striped bows in a preview photo session.

Jean-Louis Scherrer is apprently still inspired by his all-time favorite theme of the rich Raj looks from India: turbans, silk braid and all.

Colors will be hot and spicy, starting with a shocking pink suit by Erik Mortensen at Balmain. Karl Lagerfeld is going for some warm corals in his collection of abbreviated styles for Chanel.

Ungaro previewed an intriguing silk suit of pink and lavender piped in fanciful swirls of tangerine around the asymmetric decollete jacket.

Philippe Venet uses mandarin orange and plum to advantage in a short raw silk suit with trapeze jacket.

After his Sunday couture show, Christian Lacroix’s big moment will be the Sunday night launch of his first perfume with a musical show at the Opera Comique. Named ″C’est la Vie,″ the scent will be presented in an elaborate bottle sculpted with a handprint and a little coral branch - a Lacroix signature.