Cross-dressing meets boy-girl duos on Paris catwalks

Cross-dressing in cut-out tuxedos, layering boyfriend cuts with superfine silks, or stepping out in his-and-hers pairs, it was a boy-girl thing on the Paris catwalks on Wednesday.

On day two of Paris Fashion Week, Belgium's Dries Van Noten sketched an ethereal collection that fused an ultra-feminine, oriental esthetic with boldly masculine cuts, from man-sized suit jackets or waistcoats to roomy shorts.

"It's the 40s, the 70s and the 90s all mixed," the designer told AFP backstage. "The forties for their elegance, the quirkiness of the seventies and the androgyny of the 90s."

Hair was swept back cleanly off the face but then left to tumble loose on the shoulders - mirroring the fine balance between angular, structured forms and billowing, free-flowing ones, strong cottons and delicate silks.

Van Noten's colour palette was jasmine white, dove grey and charcoal black, lit up by a recurring pattern of large-petalled peonies, magnolias in raspberry or lime green, printed on kimono-style dresses or blouses - inspired, he said, by Chinese porcelain.

Like a fresh take on the South Asian salwar-kameez, a pair of loose white silk pants was overlaid with a full-body-length overshirt in translucent black, which on close inspection turned out to be all one piece.

There were also splashes of silver, gold and copper, with a fish-scale effect popping up on jackets or a pair of man-sized bermuda shorts, modelled to a neo-pop soundtrack of guitar and dreamy, uplifting vocals - reverberated by the setting, under a concrete bridge on the River Seine.

A stone's throw downriver, a man's voice singing the Cole Porter classic "Love for Sale", a cappella, was the backdrop for the graphic collection of Portugal's Felipe Oliveira Baptista, who used a man's tuxedo as inspiration.

"It's kind of like a boy-girl thing - androgyny is something I always flirt with in my collections," he told AFP backstage.

"I found some images of stripteasers using very masculine tailored things, so I thought lets play on the tuxedo," said the designer, who also worked in dance world references like leg-warmers and leggings strapped underfoot.

Tubes of black, white or tan jersey became leggings, skirts and applique tops, with bold cut-outs on the calf, waist or shoulders and sewn-on pockets and glued-down lapels - a "trompe l'oeil" effect, the designer said.

Returning after a long absence, the 88-year-old Pierre Cardin took Paris to the space age and back, with a four-season tour of his fashion universe for both men and women largely stamped with 1960s pop and sci-fi futurism.

Opening the show just off the Champs Elysees, Cardin sent out twin his-and-her full-body suits in bold pink, with wire rings defining the knees, that looked plucked straight out of Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Wetsuit-like ensembles, in his-and-her variations, came in black, silver and purple, worn with visor-like shades and headbands studded with black rubber bolts and spikes.

Other bodysuits were worn loose and flowing, in shimmery bright pinks or silvers, gathered only at the ankles and wrists.

Wristbands, necklaces and ankle bracelets fashioned from bunches of rubber tubes - in eye-popping pink, orange or green - sprouted from the edges of black tops and pants, while the men's boots were studded with metal at the rim.

In more earthly fare, Cardin's young woman wore pop-coloured mini-dresses with froo-froo skirts of red or yellow, bursting out from beneath skin-tight, bare-shoulder silver tops, or A-line trenchcoats in shiny blue, orange or pink.

Bulbous berets or outsized bell-hats defined the look throughout, while an elfin pointed hat grabbed the eye worn above a demure ribbed sweater and slinky trouser set.

But Cardin's classical styles also got a look-in with fairytale evening wear, earthy tweed jackets, and pastel patterned frocks that seemed more fit for an English wedding party than a trip to the galaxy's outer rims.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Data Centre & Systems Support Engineers

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This accelerated growth ISP company is current...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administrator - London - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...

    Recruitment Genius: .NET Web Developer

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity for a t...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £14616 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading specialist in Electronic Ci...

    Day In a Page

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

    The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
    A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

    It's not easy being Green

    After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
    Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

    Gorillas nearly missed

    BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
    Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

    The Downton Abbey effect

    Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
    China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

    China's wild panda numbers on the up

    New census reveals 17% since 2003