A new modesty swept the catwalks on Wednesday’s Day Two of the marathon Paris spring-summer 2011 ready-to-wear displays, with designers shunning sizzling sex appeal in favor of oversized, grandma-friendly looks that left nearly everything to the imagination.
Swedish rigor ruled the catwalk at Rochas, as the label’s half-Italian, half Swedish creative director looked to his roots for a wholesome Scandinavian collection that took a step back from today’s frenetic fray.
Long-sleeve button-down blouses in naive prints depicting Swedish villages were paired with matching skirts that hit at mid-calf. Plain-fronted dresses in navy were cut wide and left nearly everything to the imagination. Printed doo-rags and black knee socks topped off the show’s “un-sexy is the new sexy” spirit.
Belgium’s Dries Van Noten was at the top of his game with a collection that combined menswear staples like wide-legged boyfriend jeans and white button-down shirts with sophisticated pieces with a sumptuous Asian touch.
Kimono shirts in flower-printed silk were paired with wide-legged trousers, and the classic men’s button-down shirt — ever a cool-girl staple — morphed into skirts.
The collection managed a perfect melange of ladylike sensuousness and relaxed chill, and the fabrics reflected that — with a magpie’s mix of sequins and high-sheen Lurex-shot knits and workaday cotton canvas in white and khaki.
France’s Anne Valerie Hash pumped up the sex factor — without uncovering too much skin — with delicately draped shirtdresses and wrap trousers that were shorn of their fussy closures for easier access.
Pierre Cardin, the veteran Paris designer who fields a collection not once a season but only every few years, was having none of this new modesty. The father of the Space Age look, whose futuristic cat suits and zany sheath dresses shot him into fame more than half a century ago, stayed true to his intergalactic style, sending out an endless parade of spandex and sequin-covered gear that was ready for take off.
“What was young and fresh 40 years ago is still young and fresh today,” he told The Associated Press in a backstage interview. “I’m like a painter, a writer, a musician, I have my own style. I don’t copy anyone, and really it’s more the others who copy me.”
There was more than a hint of it on display at Felipe Oliveira Baptista, a young Portuguese designer who was recently tapped by French sportswear giant Lacoste. Baptista’s retro-futuristic silhouettes — second-skin leotards with lozenge-shaped cutouts and sheath dresses with scythe-shaped appliques — looked like cool, self-aware takes on Cardin’s staples.