Clean and lean summed up Phoebe Philo's autumn-winter collection for Celine on Sunday, which was refreshingly uncluttered and looked ready to step straight off the runway into the street.

She opened the show, only her second for the label, with funnel collared navy wool coats and reefer jackets, some double-breasted with discreet navy buttons, and contrasting black patch pockets set low.

There was a smart but sexy secretary look to her formal white blouses with elongated neckties flowing behind, over a navy midi split to the thigh or a sage green tweedy knee-skimming skirt. In some cases, shirt and skirt were conjoined, no longer separates, which looked like a speedy solution for the time-poor getting up in the morning.

Glove-fine leather vests, ribbed sleeveless knits with big cowl collars worn over fine white wool T-shirts, creamy lace ensembles and boucle wool coats, were all key to her pared down, practical vision of a 21st century winter wardrobe.

The show was packed to the gunnels despite the bitter cold snap in Paris and the out-of-the-way venue, indoor tennis courts practically in the suburbs.

For his own label, the presiding genius at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, appeared to have poured his models into their second skin pencil pants in what looked like some glossy synthetic plastic.

No way, he assured AFP after the show. The material had been treated to give it a lacquer finish but was natural and could breathe and had absolutely nothing in common with the "disgusting" latex favoured by the porn industry.

But there was no denying a certain voyeuristic edge to the collection, particularly in the prevalence of zips, running down sleeves or up legs, giving tantalising glimpses of layers beneath.

Models had their hair swept back with a wide shiny band of the new fabric, while their skintight pants in gleaming pewter, silver, black and liquid chocolate were a constant in the collection. For day they were paired with matching skinny mini skirts and kimono-folded matt jackets or coats, while for evening he veiled them with sheer silk chiffon.

"I love the colour of chocolates, even though I never eat them", confessed Lagerfeld, who has drastically slimmed down in recent years.

Singaporean designer Andrew Gn's collection celebrated the opulence of Rococo and the Regency period in France, inspired by a Louis XV commode in his own drawing room decorated with gilt scrolls and acanthus leaves.

Even for daytime sweaters were lavishly trimmed with velvet and rows of metal buttons, while sculpted ruffles cascaded down cleavages and ruched silk jersey clung to well-honed derrieres.

Forearms were encased by metal bracelets of acanthus leaves, which also wound round the bosoms of grand evening gowns in rich figured velvets. Peplums burst from the strangulated waists of siren dresses with matching trains.

More couture than ready-to-wear, there were some beautifully executed individual pieces, but too much to digest at one sitting.

Comments