McCartney opts for pulling power

BILL CLINTON'S words boomed around the public address system at the Paris Bourse: "It was not a sexual relationship." The bourse was the grand venue for Stella McCartney's third collection for the French house Chloe.

The 27-year-old daughter of Sir Paul McCartney makes no bones about the relationship between her clothes and the sexuality of the wearer. They are "pulling clothes" - designed to make the wearer look and feel as desirable as can be.

There are slip dresses, lacy camisole tops and tailoring for day, and more underwear-inspired dressing for evening. There is little difference between clothes for work or play.

Tonight, Yves Saint Laurent hosts a party to celebrate 40 years of creativity. The theme is Seventies and the dress code is strictly disco. Much of the McCartney collection would be perfect for the night. "From disco to disco," ran the soundtrack. As always, McCartney also included a snatch of a Beatles classic. This time she chose "Hey Jude" and Sir Paul tapped along on the front row.

On a handwritten note included in the press pack at the show, McCartney dedicated the show to her mother, Linda.

Later, Saint Laurent showed his last ready-to-wear collection at the Carrousel du Louvre. The master designer has decided to dedicate his time to haute couture, leaving ready-to-wear in the hands of 37-year-old Alber Elbaz, who leaves his post as designer for Guy Laroche after today's show.

Saint Laurent's last collection for the line that he launched with his first Rive Gauche boutique in 1966 was elegance and simplicity itself, from a chiffon Grecian drape dress to a long sleeved cream kaftan, both trademarks.

The British designer Alexander McQueen once said that if he could chose a couture house it would be Yves Saint Laurent. Now safely ensconced at Givenchy, that seems unlikely, and he showed his latest collection yesterday afternoon.

Gone were the theatrics and unwearable showpieces. In their place was an altogether gentler and less aggressive collection that was slick and competent and will sell and sell. Asymmetric jackets were the most tricksy thing on the runway. There was a touch of the military utility look, lots of the sharp tailoring that has made his name and some sparkly sequinned dresses for evening, just what the customer wants to wear.

"It was a new direction," McQueen said after the show. "I just wanted to sort it out."

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