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Fairytale Clothes for the Rich at Couture Shows

July 23, 1990

PARIS (AP) _ From Dior’s fabulous gowns in lame, satin, lace and taffeta to Scherrer’s Persian-rug fantasies, Monday’s couture shows were more revealing about designers’ taste than what next fall’s fashion in the streets will be.

But the clothes do show tendencies women can dream about and even emulate, if they are handy with a needle.

Gianfranco Ferre, starting his second year as Dior’s couturier, got a big hand for turning out a gorgeous line of elegant suits and sumptuous evening gowns. The talented Italian seems to have found a fine cruising speed for himself as creator for this grand old house after a somewhat shaky start last year.

He concentrated on a palette of blues - indigo, violet, slate, midnight - with some lively shades of ruby, cerise or deep coral thrown in. The daywear glamorously skimmed the body in slim lines, but skirts were somewhat longer than the crotch-high models being seen nearly everywhere else.

There was a lot of opulence here even in daytime wear, with an A-line coat ornamented with fancy braid buttons, a low-keyed dress and coat belted firmly with big bands of taffeta.

But it was in evening wear that Ferre shone most for Dior, turning out a lean crepe trouser suit dripping in sparkly embroidery at the decollete, or perfectly cut lean crepe dresses covered in fabulous full iridescent taffeta coats.

Tightly draped high empire tops sailed out with their flowing puffy lame skirts, some printed in Persian carpet motifs.

Other coverups were Ferre’s invention for Dior’s fur collection, dyed sable lined with sparkly lace. It made one want to be very rich indeed - and have a good party to show off at.

Jean-Louis Scherrer didn’t skimp on wealthy looks either. Most of the audience seemed to love his Persian-carpet styles, although of the feathered evening wear was greeted skeptically.

There was lots of leg showing here in these minis under their nicely fitted jackets with big lapels sometimes worn under soft, big hooded burnoose-style coats - in autumn colors like burnt orange, terra-cotta, ochre, gold with some prune and burnished reds thrown in.

Lots of shiny folklore prints cropped up in luscious lame evening wear, often short but also good in very tight sexy decolletes over full long skirts. And Scherrer played around with variations of the ″smoking″ or tuxedo - one with nothing underneath but a lacy slip of a dress.

Pierre Cardin celebrated his 40 years in couture, 30 years in ready-to- wear, 20 years in theatre and 10 years in the Maxim’s restaurant business with a couture show featuring more of the same Cardin favorites.

There were the terrific little coats - dozens of them, marked by the Cardin structured approach with high funnel collars, accordion-pleated sleeves, petal sleeves, pointed panel fronts in a rainbow of colors, plaids and tweeds.

He also did a series of long mid-calf outfits, which may be restful for those who would rather cover up. But in this series of leggy shows they tend to look rather stuffy Grande Dame.

But there was as usual lots of invention and fun in late-day wear, with a few of the standout hoola-hooped skirts, bright dresses garnished with enormous sunflowers and gala confections of stiffened flounces for a puffy effect.

Erik Mortensen at Balmain brought out some interesting textured knits in soft autumn colors along with a few of his shorts outfits, and slightly weird evening wear like the sparkly gold and silver-embroidered clinging black catsuit.

More glamorous was the silk sheath slashed in snaky patterns to reveal flesh-colored chiffon, but not flesh underneath.

And he topped some lean leather jumpsuits with intriguing big coats with colorful outsized stitched patchwork effects all over them.

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