The Heritage Half Dozen – Paris AW10

Here is the latest from Paris by leading fashion insider & blogger Katie Chutzpah

Alongside the established design houses of Chanel, Dior, Lagerfeld and Jean Paul Gaultier, there are a growing selection of old fashioned, iconic brands, headed by bold new designers, keeping the house heritage resonant yet reinvigorating the brand and moving design forward to a feisty new breed of clientele hungry for change. Keeping the balance between old custom and new horizon, the designer often treads a wary line caught between commercial warp and weft. There were a cool half dozen who were right on the fashion money, straddling commercial need with flair and aplomb.

Marco Zanini triumphed at Rochas with an easy, upbeat ’60’s Chelsea girl feel. Tight A lines, ruffles, and attitude. What’s not to like? A fabulous show that’s bound to influence the high street. You can keep you bangs and whistles. This was straightforward ingenuity, freshness and a new angle to shape and form which always does it for me. This collection was tight and totally on trend. A whole new legion of fans is due. Cute Capri pants were teamed with a tight gold sweater. Pointed collar shirts were worn under shifts, sure to be replicated by the SHoxton massive. A sweet black velvet pantsuit had a tight short jacket and ankle skimming boot cut flares. Ruffles shirts and detailing on dresses abounded and oh, the sweetest of touches – coloured bow detailing as a waist corsage and bouffant hair styling was all it took to inject infectious youthfulness.


This was a simple, sexy collection that knocked Marc Jacobs into a barrel. For the young Mrs Robinson to be in 2010.

Polished to perfection, Stuart Vevers’ updated Loewe’s prime insistence on leather, concentrating on the two piece 40’s style dress suit with short boxy jackets, sheer spot tights and flippy above- the- knee skirts. Women of a certain age are guaranteed to love this. Perhaps there just isn’t enough of a ‘fashions statement’ for those desperately-seeking- an- identity popular celebs. This is a collection that needs confidence, maturity, strength of character and charisma to carry the look. Smart day wear for smart, sexy Knightsbridgers.

Alber Elbaz’s African inspired trip saw models stomp to a Conga soundtrack, all with poker straight long black bobs and the severest of cheekbones as if to cut an extra edge to such sophisticated, covetable and intelligent clothing. If you choose Lanvin, you choose to make an inexplicable statement about yourself – intelligent, fashion aware and wealthy to boot, the Lanvin lover has impeccable standards with raw edging.

Fur trimmed long sleeve dresses in the softest, chicest putty, all in one strapless pantsuits, and the severest long line coats with shoulder emphasis, cut to perfection.


It was the intricate drape and wrap of the day to evening cocktail dresses that awed. One sleeve, wrap, film noir dresses skimmed the body and intricately pleated short dresses in deep gray were part African warrior princess, part dominatrix Roman Centurion. Elbaz’s vision for Lanvin is gutsy, glamorous and oh wow, we want it. Massive amulets, rough hewn fabrics, deliciously muddy hues and tribal feathers decorated. Embellishment with intelligence.

Already favoured by Carey Mulligan for her BAFTA Award, Vionnet is undoubtedly the house to watch.

Lead designer, Rodolfo Paglialunga, showed another outstanding collection bound to be worn by both the very chic or the very discriminating starlet and coveted by every style seeker worth her salt. Oh, how it rocked!
Comprised of hybrid evening wear sexily styled as killer daywear with thigh length boots, these pieces are kick ass couture, bringing Vionnet firmly into the 21st Century. A vision of a sharp, luxurious, hyper modern neo Goths, with heavenly fox fur trims, thigh length boots and leather gloves meant business. Sublime styling appeared as sharply gathered, hard shouldered chiffon or grey cashmere fur trimmed dresses vied for the most luxe. A capelet style, navy geometric pattern two piece skirt suit was divinely different while the sequin embellished skirt suits and dresses, with lace subtly peekabooing through slits breathed sensuality. Add chunky sleek silver belts and reams of silver bracelets and Bam! Pow! Red carpets ahoy.

Phoebe Philo’s hotly anticipated show delivered a vision of wealthy wearability. Philo injects the brand with hip as well as sharply tailored scruples. With the slightest of nods to the ‘60’s, at Celine, paired down minimalism met ‘The Prisoner’ as slim, sharp, structured lines dominated with an emphasis on navy blue and the skinny flare. Fashion editors foamed at the mouth.

Christophe Decarnin veered lusciously out on a limb at Balmain. Not for him, the paired down minimalism and functionality so prevalent this season: Gold, brocade, sequin, feathers, leather and lame, this was no show for shrinking violets. Decarnin delved into the ‘90’s box of Gucci dress-up: Leopard print studded frock coats with gold lame trousers, sharply cut dandy suits with flock gold thread, purple and gold brocade mini dresses and fringing galore, this was more baroque and roll than Prince for a new generation. There were still some mighty show stoppers such as the slash to naval and thigh, black sequin floor length evening dress. Pop stars the world over will adore in a world gone Gaga for glitz.

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