Gaultier and Valentino appeal to crisis spirit

Wed Jul 8, 2009 6:42pm EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandtand Mathilde Gardin

PARIS (Reuters) - Wartime movie-star suits at Jean-Paul Gaultier and delicate black dresses at Valentino wrapped up the season's haute couture shows in Paris on Wednesday.

Several couturiers staged pared-down catwalk shows or even scrapped them altogether, opting for simple presentations, as even the highest echelons of fashion felt the global economic downturn.

Amid the gloom, Gaultier sounded a defiant note.

"For thirty, forty years ... one has been talking about the funeral of haute couture ... find solutions ... and put even the most basic things into question," he said, presenting his 2009-2010 winter collection inspired by 1930s and 1940s movie stars watched by Australian singer Kylie Minogue, U.S. actor Mickey Rourke and French designer Sonia Rykiel.

"But the crisis is the time when one should create new ways of doing things," said Gaultier, a central figure in the Paris fashion scene for more than two decades.

At Valentino, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli presented their second collection for the house, which will always be associated with their predecessor Valentino Garavani's dramatic red gowns.

They opted for black dresses lightened by ruffles, lace and cascades of mousseline in a collection inspired by "fragile and dangerous" femininity.


<p>Models present creations for Italian fashion house Valentino as part of their Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2009-2010 fashion collection in Paris July 8, 2009. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol</p>