Jean Colonna, 37: Unpretentious Frenchman who steers clear of the fashion fraternity and makes the lowest- priced clothes in Paris. Best known for his leather-look PVC. His jackets are unmistakable: the seams are on the outside.

Ann Demeulemeester, 33: Belgian designer who first showed in London in the mid-Eighties before moving to Paris. An intense perfectionist who concentrates on cut and proportion and professes indifference to seasonal fashion trends.

Martin Margiela, 35: Shy Belgian who shuns interviews and uses a blank white label. Worked with Gaultier before going solo, holding shows in the back streets of Paris. He describes his clothes as flea-market chic.

John Richmond, 32: British designer showing his clothes in Paris. His signature leather jackets are popular in the rock and club worlds, but more recently he has branched out into body-conscious tailoring and denim.

Veronique Leroy, 27: Parisian who worked for Azzedine Alaia and Martine Sitbon before going solo two years ago. Her spring collection, dedicated to the tooth-flossed heroines of Seventies American junk TV, includes stretch satin flared trouser suits and Lurex tank tops.

Helmut Lang, 36: Laid-back Austrian who hates too much detail in his clothes. He experiments constantly with materials, developing metallic sheens and wafer-thin transparent fabrics that have been much copied. He also designs menswear.

Koji Tatsuno, 28: London-based Japanese designer who has shown in Paris for four seasons. His signature fabric resembles ribbons woven together. The spring collection mixes Seventies themes with sci-fi fabrics and styling.

Orson Bodil: Dutch label founded in 1989 by Nannet van der Kleijn and Alexander van Slobbe. Renowned for unfussy tailoring and attention to detail in cut and proportion, fused with a shameless love of fabric from soft, silk wrapped skirts to silver-green brocade half- mast trousers.

Helen Storey, 33: Brit with a firm finger on the pulse of contemporary fashion. Sells second-hand clothes alongside her streetwise main collection, and also reworks her best-selling garments in leather and denim.

Additional reporting by Harriet Quick.

(Photograph omitted)