If there is a costume ball on your calendar for fall you would have had a heyday in Paris this week. The couture presentations of designers offered enough fantasy costumers to fill a costume gala at the Capital Centre.
But pare away the excesses, and add the traditionally innovative directions of the French haute couture, and the result is a number of fresh ideas that will surely make their way into Washington stores. (Not for fall, since that seas clothes are already being shipped to stores, but certainly for the holiday and for spring.)
The Chinese look. For those who need a map to help them find a fresh direction for clothes, China is the destination this time around. Not the People's Republic of China that inspired clothes a few seasons back, but stoybook China with lavish fabrics, oversized shapes. Even coolie hats.
Suits. They often showed up with blouses that are ruffled and bowed at Dior. Ungaro, Hanae Mori, Scherrer and of course, Chanel.
Fur trims. Used for bushy borders of luxury on coats and suits, to line [WORD ILLEGIBLE] or as mufflers, heads and all.
Pants. Rarely the derivative of trousers, they show up as zoaves, knickers, even balloon shapes. At Givenchy, the pants dress is revived.
Black. A stron color this season, it's a dominant color scheme at Saint Laurent and resurects with fresh details the short black cocktail dress at Dion and Ungaro. Black velvet popular at Dior and for new couture designer Per Spook.
Carried over from the ready-to-wear designer showings for fall, the oversized look of loose-fitting jackets, big coats and dresses in several of the collections, and the blouson shape achieved by drawstring treatment at Yves Saint Laurent and used for some suit jackets at Chanel.
If a few bustles a fashion trend make, Saint Laurent and Jules Crahay at Lanvin may have started something, it is one of the few vintage ideas that hasn't been resurrected in a while.