High drama, frayed tempers at Paris fashion week

Fri Oct 2, 2009 5:09pm EDT
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By Sophie Hardach

PARIS (Reuters) - Police sirens and screams set the tone for Dior's film noir-inspired fashion show on Friday, with a collection of 1950s trench coats, lingerie dresses and tight metallic jeans that revealed a decidedly commercial slant.

While Dior executives cheered designer John Galliano's success with shoppers, the economic crisis was still the main theme at Paris fashion week as visitors complained about cramped venues and designers gave tips for looking chic in the downturn.

"Hopefully you can take a few elements of the collection without spending too much, and combine them -- your mother might still have something you can use," British designer Vivienne Westwood told Reuters after her show.

At Westwood's show, punk rock flirted with the Parisian bourgeoisie as fashionistas crowded into the gilded salons of a left-bank apartment formerly owned by Karl Lagerfeld.

Models with their hair in wild, frayed beehives strode across the parquet in Westwood's loosely draped dresses, voluminous belted jackets and a bridal dress emblazoned with slogans against global warming.

"Dress down to dress up by showing your flesh, eg ... ribbons of torn cloth, worn bikini-style," Westwood wrote in a leaflet handed out at the show and addressed to "all eco-warriors."


Designers have continued to trim costs by moving to smaller venues and cutting down on invites and parties. But for some buyers, austerity had clearly reached its limit.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations for by British fashion designer John Galliano as part of his Spring/Summer 2010 collection for French fashion house Dior in Paris October 2, 2009. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>