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Cardin Gives Geometry Lesson, Dior Tries Opulence

July 28, 1992

PARIS (AP) _ Traditional elegance and sophistication is an up-to-date concept for haute couture leaders Christian Dior and Pierre Cardin in this year’s winter fashion shows.

Dior’s models drifted by in opulent fitted outfits and Cardin created a worthy reprise of past successes with fancy geometrics.

Italian designer Gianfranco Ferre, haute couture boss at Dior for three years, got wild applause from Monday’s audience, which included glamorous fashion-watchers Joan Collins and Paloma Picasso.

Though some of his creations looked difficult to wear, they were beautifully cut with details like wide peplums and fancy buttons. Outsized-tie or ascot effects added a nice touch to necklines.

Ferre went both short and long, and short was more fun. Sleekly fitted pants suits, with cuffs on narrow trousers, were another dressy alternative.

Ever loyal to Italy, where Ferre has his own fashion house, he based his show on the hazy, gray, romantic tones of Venice in wools and silks shot with iridescent dusty pinks and hazy greens.

There was plenty to please people with a few million dollars for clothes alone - from the sable and taffeta bubble-coat outfits to the chinchilla- swathed suits and acres of gold quilted lame.

Cardin, who loves couture even though he’s expanded into many other interests, whipped out some extraordinary geometric cuts and shapes, well up to some he’s done in the past.

He skirted the long-short problem in many ways, wrapping some models in clinging long skirts, slitting skirts to show leg, and by hanging jackets over shiny tights for the same effect.

The geometrics came in everything from outsized petal-shaped sleeves to interesting plastrons and skirts gathered cartridge-style to stand out stiffly at the hem.

But Cardin also juggled with softer styles, as seen in some wonderful soft plaid coats with raglan sleeves.

Jean-Louis Scherrer hearkened back to his old jungle beat with a whole line of luxury fabrics printed in wild-animal patterns. The feminine, long lines looked graceful, though not always especially youthful.

Details were carefully thought out, from the lace-up suit jacket closings to the sexily slit skirts. A version in simple black topped by a velvet- collared, white wool crepe jacket could be a classic in anybody’s wardrobe.

The evening clothes showed Scherrer at his very best. From elaborately- draped iridescent chiffons in tones like copper and aqua to scintillating taffeta gowns and jeweled jackets, they were truly fit for regal nights out.

Valentino went overboard for glamorous 30s styles, from slinky dresses with little striped boleros and trumpet-shaped skirts to long trench coats in soft fabrics and colors.

His version of geometrics was in some of the patterns based on designs by Paul Dunand, the Frenchman who often designed ocean-liner decor. Black and white were dominant in this sophisticated collection.

Gerard Pipart got a big hand for his couture offering at Nina Ricci - applauded by Prime Minister Pierre Beregovoy, who was in the audience.

Some handsome redingotes in chocolate brown alternated with lovely patchwork loose coats over slim pants. Going for the latest Paris craze for snakeskin, alligator and similarly-patterned fakes, Pipart turned out some excellent models in crocodile-imprinted jacquard satin.

Pipart always succeeds at his debutante clothes. The most glorious one of all sported a huge red-and-green rosette satin sash on the full-skirted black gown.

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