Cartoon coats bring surrealism to Paris shows

Sat Mar 7, 2009 1:00pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Bustiers covered with bright plastic buttons and coats made of white Mickey Mouse gloves brought some surrealist cheer to a muted Paris fashion week on Saturday.

Paris traditionally is the climax of the round of shows that starts in New York and Milan, but it has sounded a somber note as budget cuts have forced designers into smaller venues and creative souls try to prove they share the world's economic pain.

U.S. designer Jeremy Scott overthrew such grown-up concerns with an unapologetically playful collection, inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse comics and a sense of childish fun.

"I've always loved Mickey Mouse, and I thought about their love story and thought, at a time like this, what do we need more than love -- love, sweet love," Scott told Reuters backstage.

Minnie's polka-dot court shoes came in red and yellow, and a red pair of Mickey-style bloomers was held up by black braces and accessorized with a stole made of gloves.

A dazzling bustier covered in hundreds of pop-colored plastic buttons continued a chirpy, surrealist theme that began in Milan with Dolce & Gabbana's glove headbands and Agatha Ruiz De La Prada's bird cage dresses.

Even more wearable pieces, such as egg-yolk yellow and tomato-red coats, struck a contrast to the mood of penance and gloom that so far has marked this fashion season.

Designers are torn between publicly empathizing with the hard-hit masses on the one hand, and trying to spread an upbeat, seductive message on the other.

Asked how his business was coping with the downturn, Scott looked slightly guilty.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation by U.S. designer Jeremy Scott as part of his Fall/Winter 2009/10 women's ready-to-wear fashion collection during Paris Fashion Week March 7, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen</p>