Paris collections get off to a minimalist start

The fall-winter pret-a-porter collections in Paris got off to a minimalist start on Tuesday, overshadowed by the furore surrounding John Galliano at Christian Dior.

Portugal's Fatima Lopes, Indonesia's Harry Halim and South Korea's Moon Young Hee were first out of the blocks for the nine days of shows, with Moon's hanbok-inspired soft-goth designs the most impressive of the three.

The soundtrack at Moon was Anika's cover of the Kinks' lullaby "I Go to Sleep," but the models looked comfortably like so many Avril Lavignes in soft, fluid fabrics cut in draped and pinched silhouettes.

If there was any edge to the looks, it came from the black combat boots - and even those were well-worn. Like other collections on Monday, accessories - like colours - were conspicuous by their virtual absence.

"I like very much silk, organza, mouselline," the diminutive and bespectacled Moon - a Paris resident for 20 years who travels widely to check up on her far-flung family - told AFP after the show. "It's sublime."

Moon's show finished not long before Christian Dior announced it was firing its flamboyant British chief designer John Galliano after a video surfaced showing him insulting Parisian cafe patrons and declaring "I love Hitler".

Dior is scheduled to send out its collection on Friday, with Galliano's own eponymous label to follow on Sunday.

In a polar-white art gallery stripped bare of any art, Halim sent out satin wide-bottom pants, cropped military-style capes and leather cowl-neck tops in jungle shades of browns, greens and black.

Cocktail dresses had hems cut aggressively on the bias, showing lots of leg. Other looks featured interesting reptilian sleeves and, in one instance, something that could be described as a strategically sheer top.

Lopes's show in the Passages Jouffroy - one of Paris's mid-19th century precursors of today's shopping mall - got off to an angelic start, all in white, then shifted into monochrome mode to the blips of Laurie Anderson's "Oh Superman".

A sculptural white sheath dress with wide sleeves that connected at the hip was the stand-out in a collection otherwise undermined by dubious craftsmanship and tailoring so tight that some models struggled to make it down the runway.

In a very international start to the Paris shows, Tuesday also saw collections from London-based Aganovich, Belgian-born Anthony Vaccarello, Italian native Corradio de Blase, Turkey's Hakaan, Canadian-born Nicolas Andreas Taralis and Dutch-born couturier Josephus Thimister.

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