Paco Raba Sanne, not exactly a household word, woke up doing fashion gazers here yesterday with a line of clothing that may prove dangerous in thunderstorms.
To end the third day of this city's four-day haute-couture fete, Rabanne unleashed a collection of garments made of 79 per cent metal and 30 per cent silk. Even as huge speakers in the swank Hotel George V were spurting out the rythms of African percussion, the clank of rabanne's outfits could still be heard: helmets that look like Bucminster Fuller geodestic domes, with triangular earrings that extend down to the chest, where more metal triangles are woven together into what is normally called a dress. The whole caboodle is guaranteed to attract attention everywhere, and would undoubtedly liven up many performances at the Kennedy Center, where similar outfits have sometimes appeared on stage.
Lest any would-be trend-setter fear the problems of life in glorified armor without a lightning pole and portable grounding rod. Rabanne also has created dresses ("cages," he rather appropriately calls them) of attached panels of wooden beads which are worn over tights.The effect is not unlike what might happen if a 6-year-old ran wild in the Tinker Toy factory. And for that most special day of days - and if it's not too special this one will make it special - Rabanne has concocted a wedding dress of crystal beads strung together, with matching head-dress - something with real potential for the Ice Capades, too. For the first time in history, a bride will be able to cancel her trip down the aisle by saying, "Sorry, pal. I've shattered my wedding dress." On the other hand, think of all the future generations that can use this one after a quick trip to the chandelier cleaner.
If Rabanne's collection was dazzling, it was also dazzlingly short. In 20 minutes he paraded 50 different outfits down the runway, including an African style "boubou" beach dress that has the countenance of French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing plastered over it in seven different places. Although this is election year in France, a spokeswoman for Rabanne said that no royalties from the sale of this item would go into any party coffers.
Earlier in the day, the mighty Yves Safnt Laurent had some literally dozing in the aisles as he presented 114 outfits in an all but brief two hours and basically two colors - black and white. It was a far cry from 18 months ago when Saint Laurent threw the fashion industry a brilliantly calculated curve ball in the form of Czarist Russian designs orchestrated with music of the period and moody lighting. Yesterday's collection seemed remarkably monotonous in style: repetitive part-suits and so much billowing silk, in the dress department, that it all tended to flow together, with ubiquitous straw hats very similar to dyed skimmers. There were a few rather revealing items in black gauze that would probably sell well in the Frederick's of Hollywood catalogue.
But the real stumper of Saint Laurent's show, regular observers of the fashion rites pointed out, was how undramatic the presentation actually was.
In part an attempt to capture the mood of black culture as portrayed in "Porgy and Bess," it used some of the music from the play. The event began with dimmed lights and a pounding heartbeat. The first two models headed down the runway and suddenly there was a loud bang. Bingo: no music. And then the esuivalent of "Please stay tuned" on the tube:
"Excusez la mxsique," a voice announced and a few minutes later it all started up again, with a medley of American musical numbers.
In fact, the serious production number here so far was the Schiaparelli collection Tuesday night at the Palais de Chaillot. Under the benign gaze of Egyptian statuary, Schiaparelli's billowy silks were brought forth with the assistance of a director and choreographer.
The real question of the evening was whether this was bad dancing with great costumes or the other way around.