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Balmain collection offers a glimpse of the Forties look

A PLAID mohair ensemble topped by matching beret being displayed yesterday at the Pierre Balmain couture show, in the gilded salon of the Grand Hotel, Paris, writes Tamsin Blanchard.

The show opened with a voiceover about Juliet Greco and Miles Davis and the first outfit was a luxury version of Beatnik, with an almost comical miniature beret and plain black sleeveless dress. Oscar de la Renta, designer at Balmain, included neat 1940s-style short suits and a series of dresses for women whose lives are one long cocktail party.

Yesterday's first show was a more civilised affair than the glitzy, jet-set Versace show at the Ritz on Sunday night where lips were coated in a slick of gloss, hair blow-dried to the texture of candy floss, with neon-bright clothes that almost glowed in the dark. Snakeskin jackets and tiny skirts that would make any Essex girl proud, were worn with coloured fishnets. There were also huge shaggy afghan coats the colour of sugared almonds, and siren dresses made of chain mail.

(Photograph omitted)