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Montana Wins With Leggie Look; Gaultier Parades French Can-Can

March 16, 1991

PARIS (AP) _ Lean legs in stretch tights or long skirts were practically fighting it out on the runways of the winter ready-to-wear shows in Paris Saturday.

But Claude Montana came out squarely for long legs under shortie coats, long jackets, little tunic dresses or mini-suits.

His show was a brilliant success, featuring structured, sharp lines as only this master cutter can turn them out.

From his shortie flared coats in luminous turquoise over slim, white stretch leggings and bootees to the jeweled and feathered birds at the end sporting flashes of chunky silver embroidery, every number was a top designer statement.

Having won the prestigious Golden Thimble award twice in a row for his couture collections at Lanvin, Montana is still on a roll. His collection was spiffy, clean and straightforward.

The silhouette ranged from swingy pyramids or skimpier, fitted coats just caressing the body to jackets with flared basque bottoms, sometimes cut with asymmetrically pointed hems.

But Montana also offered puffy hot pink or black cocoon parka-style tops - always with contrasting tights and matching bootees.

His leather work was fine in everything from black with myriad details like silvery cartridge belts or diagonal silvery zippers to the shiny violet blue double-breasted slightly flared shortie coat worn with red tights and gloves.

As a colorist, he also won out with combinations of cyclamen, anis yellow, mandarin orange or robin’s egg blue with contrasting tights.

Philip Waghorne, the Yorkshire-born designer at Nina Ricci, turned in a very creditable show of wearable luxury styles. He used beautiful fabrics in his long- or short-skirted outfits that could be worn by anybody.

The daytime wear had a faintly Edwardian air, with beautiful long redingote coats or suits with mid-calf skirts split for walking. It was all topped by cloche-style hats with high crowns and turned-up brims.

Some of Waghorne’s best suits were the flecked donegal tweeds, in mustard- gold shades or brick red, with short skirts.

Shimmery fabrics came out in long jackets patterned in gold-shot brocade kilim rug patterns, or soft and silky wrapped shawls.

Waghorne went to the Scottish lochs for inspiration in tartan pants topped by dressy, frilled blouses and jackets, or shimmery plaid taffeta full skirts with tweed blouses.

Jean-Paul Gaultier put on a truly Parisian fling Friday night in the ″Cirque d’Hiver″ (Winter Circus) hall near the Bastille. This avant-garde designer harked back to Toulouse Lautrec for inspiration, as even the usherettes were dressed like music-hall dancers.

Many models flounced out in hitched-up pointed skirts, tight little silky tops, feathers and monkey fur on their decolletes and topknots on their heads. Amid all the fun, Gaultier reintroduced asymmetrical ″handkerchief″ skirts draped at the hips. Worn with zippy red-blue-white-black striped tights and a variety of toppers, it all looked modern nonetheless.

Like others this week, Gaultier often underlined his nice long jackets with stretch body-suits in gold lame or perhaps a small check.

He also took colorful silky or chiffon raincoats over the body-stockings and let them out into trains that could then be drawn up and tied around the waist for a short overskirt effect - a cute new way to go from the Metro to the disco.

Gaultier’s latest footgear was almost totally based on the look of laced-up skate boots - illustrated by performing skaters.

In high spirits, Gaultier himself went into a little can-can number as the show ended, high-kicking along with the girls in skating costumes and corselet-girdled skirts.

Then there was the Japanese manufacturer Matsuda, who paraded a line that looked somewhere between grandma’s crochet parlor and the winter garden.

The heavy lace and crochet long tunics and dresses over curtain-draped flimsy skirts commanded a certain odd fascination, decked out with flowers and curly fabric stems or pistils.

Variations on the tuxedo had holes cut in backs and gold-chain draping all over.

But if all this was too much, there also were a few beautifully cut classic straight trouser suits in cream and butternut shades, worn with lovely silk blouses fronted in pretty floral print bands.

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