Robin Givhan on Fall Fashion
Yves Saint Laurent has always traded on sexuality, and not subtly, as in this lacy ensemble. (Maria Valentino - for The Washington Post).

Paris (March 13, 2003)
Y-3's Warming Trend
All week, Paris designers have been enamored of special-effect snow. They've been churning up fake blizzards on the runway, hoping not only to create dramatic theater but also to give a sense of reality to the presentation. Photo Gallery

Paris (March 12, 2003)
YSL, Last and First
Fall 2003 fashion shows came to an informal end with the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche presentation, showing not only commercial success but influence over the industry. Photo Gallery

Paris (March 9, 2003)
Time Is of the Essence
If there is any symbolism to be lifted from Helmut Lang's presentation and from others shown, it is that time -- chronicling the passage of it and the desire to spin it backward -- is a nagging itch. Photo Gallery

Paris (March 7, 2003)
Shredding the Fabric of Class
The beauty of fashion in Paris lies in the creative tension among designers who disagree on the fundamental nature of clothes.

Milan (March 4, 2003)
Flaunting It
In Milan, designers invariably focus their attention on clothes that are provocative and sexy. Photo Gallery

Milan (March 3, 2003)
Emperor's New Clothes
Giorgio Armani is one of the world's most successful fashion designers. The trouble is that he's trapped by his own stardom. Photo Gallery

Milan (March 1, 2003)
Pall Bearers
World events have not sparked the kind of indulgences in Milan that were on the New York runway.
Photo Gallery

London (Feb. 21, 2003)
Showing True Brit
The arresting images of glamour-puss models on a runway only hint at the significance of Fashion Week in London. Photo Gallery

New York (Feb. 15, 2003)
Clothes Made From A Mood
All designers have to find some way to distinguish themselves from the other guy. But the marketing of an entire persona, of a world, is something far grander.

New York (Feb. 14, 2003)
Indulging in Optimism
The best fall collections signify that life is not simply going along as usual, but that it holds the possibility of being better than usual. Photo Gallery

New York (Feb. 12, 2003)
In Need of a Few Good Men
The presence of menswear on the runways -- and even in showroom presentations -- has dwindled to nearly nothing. Photo Gallery

Robin Givhan on Spring Fashion

Paris (Oct. 10, 2002)
Falling for Their Own Lines
What comes down the runway sometimes lands on an audience that should know better.

Paris (Oct. 8, 2002)
A Trip Down the Runway
The big, important spring 2003 fashion shows ended in Paris on Tuesday when designer Karl Lagerfeld took his bows at Chanel.
Photo Gallery

Paris (Oct. 6, 2002)
Cover Story
At the Balenciaga spring 2003 presentation, the room was notable for its lack of crowding and, as one guest observed, its carefully chosen audience.
Photo Gallery

Paris (Oct. 3, 2002)
Poetic Lines With Rhyme, Reason
When a designer puts pure silliness on the runway, it's easy to dismiss every wretched frock as impossibly difficult to wear. But when a designer puts poetry on a catwalk, one should be more forgiving.
Photo Gallery

Milan (Oct. 1, 2002)
Body Politics
If the fashion presentations in Milan this week have proved one thing, it's how difficult and pointless it is to capture a movement that is long gone.

Photo Gallery

Milan (Sept. 29, 2002)
Gucci Raises Its Sights, and That's Not All
Designers cite an elaborate list of places and characters when asked about their sources of inspiration. Another source of inspiration that remains unmentioned in flowery program notes and during backstage air kissing: the poor economy, which has taken an enormous bite out of the worldwide luxury business.
Photo Gallery

Milan (Sept. 26, 2002)
Taking Kids on a Roman Holiday
At Dolce & Gabbana, the designers have a knack for creating clothes that draw their inspiration from the adult collection, but have a playful, dress-up quality when reworked for children.
Photo Gallery

New York (Sept. 23, 2002)
Fray Chic in the City
As the fashion industry focuses on nostalgia as well as a vision of the present that is defined by comfort and familiarity, the importance of mood and subtext has never been more important.
Photo Gallery

New York (Sept. 21, 2002)
The Well-Bred Dress
Designer Narciso Rodriguez presented a collection that was classy like the glorious heyday of the word.

New York (Sept. 19, 2002)
Welcome to Pleasantville
For spring 2003, it is overwhelming how many designers have looked no farther than the family photo album, the corner vintage store or the classics section of their neighborhood Blockbuster.
Photo Gallery

New York (Sept. 17, 2002)
Sober Steps Back to the Runway
The spring 2003 New York runway presentations began Sept. 17. Now that a year has passed, questions of appropriateness are more difficult to answer. Many of the responses that struck just the right tone 12 months ago now seem like cliches or are clouded by ambivalence.
Photo Gallery

© 2002 The Washington Post Company