Elie Saab for women, Chloe for girls

PARIS, Oct 6, 2007 (AFP) -Elie Saab is understandably popular with the red-carpet crowd because the Lebanese designer celebrates a woman's curves with dresses which flatter and accentuate the figure.


A model presents a creation by Lebanese designer Elie Saab during Spring/Summer 2008 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris - Photo : Francois Guillot/AFP

There could hardly have been a greater contrast between his ready-to-wear show for next summer on Saturday and Paolo Melim Andersson's second collection for Chloe, sent out on flat-chested models as thin as planks a few hours later.

At Chloe, the airy cotton frocks with trailing ties in white and sweet pea colours, with the odd flash of pink neon, were summery and pretty, but they were cut so loose they often gave an uncomfortable glimpse of the wearer's skinny frame.

Sheer silk chiffon T-shirts with only a narrow opaque panel and worn bra-less are not a realistic option for many women. The floor-sweeping crochet cardigans were fun, if somewhat like a little girl playing at dressing up.

There was a certain Lolita appeal about the whole look, but perhaps the only ones who could get away with it are too young to be able to afford it.

Elie Saab's summer collection was decisively for grown-ups, with slender waists emphasised by sashes and big bows, halternecks and strapless sheaths to display decolletes and bare shoulders, and full ball gown skirts.

He cleverly used a favourite floral print of black and white cabbage roses on emerald or violet in different materials and guises from a strappy sundress for daytime to a fluttery pleated silk chiffon confection for dusk.

A giant golden yellow rose was worked in fabric to decorate the front of a dance dress, while straps bristled with sequins.

Slivers of silvery cocktail frocks were interspersed between grander evening gowns. Stand-out pieces included a sheath in dramatic chevrons of sequins in black, white and royal blue, a sequence of ball dresses in stiff taffeta in cyclamen pink and old gold, and white silk chiffon handpainted with wild grasses.

Antonio Marras at Kenzo transported his audience to the Amazonian rain forest, draping the ceiling of the venue with tropical vegetation and installing television monitors showing exotic birds like brilliantly-coloured parakeets flying about, complete with sound effects.

His inspiration was Werner Herzog's film "Fitzcarraldo" based on a true story about a man with the grand scheme of building an opera house in the heart of the Amazonian forest.

The upbeat collection featured sunray pleating, glazed silks which looked waterproof, crochet-macrame knits embroidered with wooden pearls, and wide trousers fastened at the ankle like tracksuit bottoms.by Sarah Shard

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