Designers in Paris have made a graphic statement for spring and have expressed it most dramatically in black and white. Bold stripes, "color" blocks and spaced-out prints provide handles for negative/positive messages just as exciting as the wildest color palette. They present a framework which welcomes an injection of color via shoes, hats, belts, whatever.

It started with Yves Saint Laurent's black-and-white, clown-like blocks and graphic waves spun off from Picasso, specifically his designs for the Diahilev Ballet Russe presentation of Le Tricorne.

Saint Laurent was hardly alone in such offerings. For Marc Bohan at Dior there were angular blocks of black and white shaping suits and dresses. Claude Montana, who once masterminded the tough black-leather look in Paris, worked in white organza and pared white linen jackets with side-draped-or-pleated skirts in white scattered patterns on black silk. Karl lagerfeld chose soft fabrics to show off his graphicaly patterned black-and-white designs in mini-to ankle-lengths. (In the end, he was shipping them all just below the knee.)

It didn't stop there. Anne Marie Baretta shaped the chemise in black or white leather, silk or linen with scattered brief lines in the opposite. Georges Rech did white prints on black and then the reverse on backgrounds of black and white. And many other designers worked in black and white as well.

That was hardly the only message of Paris designers for spring, but certainly one that starts the 1980s off with a bold, clear statement that will be heard here.