Paris haute couture: "the battle of the sexes is over"

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French fashion designer Julien Fournié -- recent winner of the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris -- has had enough of "too masculine" and "too aggressive" dressing: "we have to retrieve women's vulnerability and fragility."

(Relaxnews) -

French fashion designer Julien Fournié - recent winner of the Grand Prix de la Création de la Ville de Paris - has had enough of "too masculine" and "too aggressive" dressing: "we have to retrieve women's vulnerability and fragility."

In tune with ready-to-wear designers' more romantic visions for spring - a logical counter-movement to the 'rock'n'roll chic' and 'power looks' of the past seasons - Fournié used fabrics such as a specially developed lacquered silk to emphasize women's feminity.

"The battle of the sexes is a thing of the past," he told Relaxnews in his Paris atelier, preparing his show for the haute couture fashion week starting next week. And while he believes that high fashion aims to "emancipate women," he says he wants to re-inject softness and naturalness into modern clothes.

It's the first haute couture collection (even though he just calls them Premiers Pièces, 'First Pieces') for his namesake label after having worked for French fashion brands including Torrente and Claude Montana. His ode to femininity is translated in transparent, flowy blouses, pants, and dresses in shades of nude, chair, grey, and taupe, often in gradation, sometimes handpainted with florals - all inspired by a "nostalgic, end-of-summer feeling in Provence."

The highlight of this first display will be a delicate see-through gown adorned with feathers from respected Parisian artisan Lemarié, which - just as the rest of the collection - will be paired with shoes from Italian designer Giovanni Monte.

Nature and feminity as well as a new romanticism were key tendencies last fall when prêt-à-porter designers showed their spring/summer collections.

Even though Fournié says that "haute couture isn't influenced by trends," he also incorporated another big trend into his range: pioneered by designers such as Marios Schwab and developed further at the men's wear shows in Milan for example, anatomic references seem to be gaining in importance.

Fournié, who fittingly trained as a doctor before finding his way into fashion, says he is "obsessed with skin" and has worked "windows onto the human body" into many of his pieces, such as a dress opening up at the back or transparent layers that reveal themselves when the wearer starts walking and all sorts of cut-outs. "There are no taboos in haute couture," the designer says, "just wear it as if it were a jean."

Julien Fournié shows his first own haute couture collection on January 26 at 5pm at the Passage du Désir in Paris.

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