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Designer Shows Midas Touch With Display

Italian designer Stefano Pilati showcased his ready-to-wear collection with world's longest catwalk for the French label on Thursday.

india Updated: Mar 03, 2006 13:01 IST

Italian designer Stefano Pilati returned to the venue where Yves Saint Laurent bid farewell to couture to present his ready-to-wear collection for the French label on Thursday.

Saint Laurent took over the massive hall of the Pompidou modern art museum in 2002 for a career retrospective lasting close to two hours an eternity by the standards of modern fashion shows.

Pilati went for a different record: that of the world's longest catwalk. Models marched down a narrow room that ran the length of the building 166 meters (yards), to be precise.

The YSL display capped a day of autumn-winter presentations in Paris that also included Celine, Stella McCartney and Emanuel Ungaro.

The shade of pink plastered over the walls and chairs was lifted from the packaging of Saint Laurent's fragrance Baby Doll, and the collection also paid homage to the house heritage.

Nods to the master included pussycat bows, done in everything from plush mink to supple leather, and an ample knee-length coat with two thin leather strips crossing in the back.

Not content to stroll through the archives, Pilati looked all the way back to the ancient civilizations of Byzantium and Greece.

This showed in the heavy gold chains that curled across cut-out panels on a sleeveless top, or a jewel-encrusted gold collar on a navy chiffon evening dress. He gave the full Midas treatment to a boatneck shift that shimmered with gold sequins.

If parent company Gucci was looking to reassert its confidence in the designer, the message came across loud and clear. Gucci Group chief Robert Polet firmly dismissed recent rumors that Pilati was about to be replaced.

"I think the show was fantastic and Stefano is here to stay — for a long time," he told The Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Croat designer Ivana Omazic has settled in nicely in her second season at Celine. Her collection was inspired by the author Nancy Cunard's 1930s allure.

"An assertive woman, who never relinquishes her femininity," was how she summed it up.

A skirt in rectangular strips of black organza split open to reveal a nude slip for an "undressed" effect. Cocktail dresses in black panne velvet shimmered like an Arabian horse's coat.

Omazic showed plenty of opulent looks, from a stiff mahogany crocodile leather coat to a caramel mink wrap. Wide lapels on belted coats arched away from the collar to sculptural effect.

McCartney was also in confident mood. The British designer's recent collection for Swedish retailer H&M was a sellout, she has launched a new tennis range with Adidas and her own label is on course to turn a profit next year.

Working with a refined palette of taupe, indigo and dusty pink, McCartney sent out shawl-necked cardigans that swathed the body over matching opaque tights and towering ankle boots. Sweater dresses and super-skinny jeans tapped into fashion's obsession with the 1980s.

Like her late mother Linda, McCartney is a strict vegetarian and refuses to use leather or fur. Front-row guest Courtney Love said she did not fully support the ban on animal byproducts.

"I'm really anti-fur and my daughter is as well. My daughter's godmother is Drew Barrymore and whenever I get tempted I think, you know, Drew would probably kill me," the singer told The Associated Press. "But leather: I'm rock — I have to do leather."

First Published: Mar 03, 2006 13:01 IST