Paris Fashion Week F/W 2007: Save The Best for Last
It's the final week of fashion month and, as they say, the best is often saved for last. As we all know, Paris is known for fashion and it rarely disappoints. The Autumn/Winter 07/08 prêt-a-porter collections, which opened on Sunday, February 25th with Balmain and Rick Owens, kicked off the week.
But the best is still yet to come. The fashion world has been holding its breath for its darlings, many of whom aren't even French, but whose names have become synonymous with French fashion: Karl Lagerfeld (German) for Chanel, Marc Jacobs (American) for Louis Vuitton, Albar Elbaz (Israeli) for Lanvin and Stefano Pilati (Italian) for Yves Saint Laurent. Nicolas Ghesquiére is the only Frenchman in charge of a French house, Balenciaga, which was created by the Spanish/Basque-born Cristóbal Balenciaga in Paris 70 years ago.
Okay, so those all those names are a given, but who else is the fashion world murmuring about?
David Szeto — fashion's best-kept secret. And, no, he's not French either, he's from Canada, but has been living in Paris for the past 16 years, so he's more Parisian than most of the transplanted designers mentioned above — except, of course, for Mr. Lagerfeld, but that's only because he has a few decades on him.
Mr. Szeto is mostly a secret because, unlike his powdered-haired peer (and most of the "designers" these days), he doesn't seek out the limelight. His molded, folded, tucked and technically complicated designs are the product of many a late night in the atelier draping, knotting and pinning out different fabrications on his mannequin forms rather than posing for the paparazzi. He's just interested in making beautiful clothes that are original and interesting — new without being futuristic and weird. Mr. Szeto will be presenting his collection Under the Influence on March 4th.
So what will Mr. Szeto be Style.com-ing this week when he has time: "Balenciaga and Comme de Garcons..." he told ASW, but he admits his curiosity will probably have to wait to be indulged until after the 4th.
While Mr. Szeto is editing down his looks for Sunday afternoon, Erin Fetherston, another Paris-based (but American-born) designer can relax a bit and actually attend some shows — she already showed her whimsically cool collection a few weeks ago in New York. Who's shows is she looking forward to seeing? "All my friends," the buoyant, flaxen-haired designer told ASW at Ferdi, a tiny little tapas restaurant. "Haider Ackermann...some of the Japanese designers like Keita Maruyama, Junko Shumado and Tsumori Chisato. I'm also interested to see what the new designer at Chloe (Swede Paulo Melim Andersso) is doing — he came from Marni. And also Miu Miu."
Additionally, Miss Fetherston mentioned she'll be stopping by to see a vernissage at the Bon Marché, which features portraits of fashion people — her friend photographer Ellen von Unwerth is the poster-girl for the exhibition. Apparently supporting your friends is very in this season.
As is Corto Moltedo's collection of handbags. While fashion week in Paris is clearly clothes-centric, there are plenty of accessories to sort through as well, and this is a collection many editors won't be skimming over. Mr. Moltedo's parents founded Bottega Veneta back in the '70's, so his knowledge of leather goods and Italian style were pretty muchimbued at birth. His namesake line is indulgent with its bling-y gold star and "C" hardware and its range of ultra-modern shapes, but the real luxury is hidden in the details — think built in mirrors, a little slot for your credit card and a cell-phone-sized pocket inside each purse.
Mr. Moltedo says he's looking forward to seeing Viktor & Rolf, "It's always a surprise with them..." Last season the Dutch designers gave the audience a special little treat — a live performance by Rufus Wainwright as an array of sequined and mirrored ensembles worthy of "Dancing with the Stars" twinkled their way down the runway.
— Erin Skrypek