Classics from the newest Brits on Paris catwalk

THE two newest Brits in Paris showed their collections yesterday: 26-year-old Stella McCartney for Chloe and 28-year-old Alexander McQueen for Givenchy. Both presented collections that were true to the style as the houses they are employed by, writes Tamsin Blanchard.

For Chloe, McCartney showed pretty, feminine, floral appliqued dresses, camisole tops and tailored suits while McQueen presented a strong collection doing what he does best: strong, structured tailoring.

McQueen's third ready-to-wear collection for Givenchy was his best yet - and the best the house has produced for a long time. It will take him a few seasons more to truly find his feet, but already he is showing clothes far more relevant to both the house and to the Givenchy customer than his predecessor, John Galliano, ever did.

McQueen's women are hard, aggressive and tough: power women like you usually see on the catwalks of French designer Thierry Mugler who has so influenced McQueen. If you want pretty feminine clothing, look elsewhere. McQueen has little time for flighty fashion. His Blade Runner-style replicants wore killer red leather shirts, second-skin dresses, and severely shouldered coats. A brocade tailored dress was followed by the signature McQueen all-in-one pant suit which came in burgundy chalk stripe.

There were also skintight Cheong Sam dresses so heavily embroidered they were almost dripping, and rubberised dresses scattered with blue glitter.

When it reaches the shops next autumn, this collection will sell and sell.

If big structured shoulders and hard tailoring are not your thing, Stella McCartney's collection for Chloe might well be.

McCartney understands the Chloe lookIt is soft, floaty and a touch of seventies rock chick. And she has given the label a whole new lease of life with girls of her 20 something generation who want to go out and party in a satin slip top that emphasises the cleavage.

As a publicity magnet, she is the perfect woman to revive the flagging label and instill it with her own personality. But as a designer, she has her limitations.

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