Touches of pink liven up collections dominated by simple yet elegantly structured shapes


There is little new, but lots to love, in the collections at Paris Fashion Week

The sight of Martin Grant, the Australian designer, running out after his show to embrace Lee Radziwill – the regal 78-year-old sister of Jackie Kennedy – was a memorable moment in Paris at the weekend. Along with Cate Blanchett and Lauren Hutton, she is one of the most prominent supporters of the designer’s simple lines and strong, sharp silhouettes.

Trouser suits with peaked shoulders in black or pink were of impeccable cut and tailoring, black ballerina skirts topped with pink velvet were dreamy and the whole show had the type of technical polish and understated glamour that defines French style.

In the pink

Pink is emerging as a key winter season colour and the soft shades that sweetened Phoebe Philo’s collection for Céline in the Tennis Club de Paris were those of French macaroons: strawberry, cream, banana and peach. Her new silhouette combined rigidity, curvaceousness and volume in sculpted shapes. All extraneous detail was stripped away, except for on a white winter coat that was embellished lightly with tiny white wool studs.

Skintight skirts flared out from the knee under cocoon mohair coats featuring oversize portrait collars.

Notable details were pockets hidden under sweeping folds and tight bandeaux stretched across knitted tops, the whole effect being to give a grown-up look to a very modern and sophisticated collection.

Punkish elements

Junya Watanabe’s play on patchwork – mixing leather, tweed, tartan and denim – was clever and well contrived. Give this designer any subject and he appropriates it completely, bringing a fresh look to conventional themes like he did last season with sportswear.

This time he reworked punkish elements of street style, deconstructing jeans into skirts, pairing patched biker jackets with appliquéd denim and tweed coats with leggings. Though zany and exuberant there was a sense of déjà vu.

The two Californian creatives putting new life into Kenzo (now stocked in Brown Thomas) held their show yesterday in the chilly 19th-century building that used to house La Samaritaine department store. Staying true to the brand’s global ethnic identity, this very commercial collection drew inspiration from India, Nepal and China using rich, multicoloured opulent fabrics in bold new ways. There were some great black and gold brocade trouser suits and a swirling evening dress of silver, metallic and grey silk. The blocky shoes in gold, black and red patent are bound to be best-sellers.

The Irish in Paris fashion

From Ballyheigue in Co Kerry and one of three sisters, McCarthy came to Paris to work with designer Sharon Wauchob immediately after graduation from Limerick School of Art and Design in 2010. When she was a student, she worked as an intern in Wauchob’s studio in the Marais in Paris.

She is responsible for all the embroidery development of the designer’s ready-to-wear lines and for all technical drawings and illustrations.

She is also busy working on Wauchob’s new accessories range of leather goods, including shoes, handbags and jewellery. She has just returned from a trip to Hong Kong where further developments are being planned. McCarthy is based in an apartment near Sacré Coeur. She loves Paris and its culture and intends to stay. Twice a year she returns to Kerry. Last December she came back for her sister’s wedding, for which she made the dress in Indian-embroidered French lace.

 - Catriona McCarthy