Mar 4, 2012
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Wrapping up in style: Paris looks to arctic winter

Mar 4, 2012

PARIS - The fashionable crowd won't be caught out twice: after this year's arctic cold snap in Europe, Paris Fashion Week designers are rolling out sumptuous cashmere and deep fur to keep warm in style next winter.

Jean Paul Gaultier - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

Jean Paul Gaultier sent out a graffiti-inspired ready-to-wear line Saturday night to the edgy sound of the Velvet Underground, with coats that were an overt challenge to the anti-fur activists at animals rights group PETA.

On single models the French designer mixed up fox, mink, Mongolian lambskin -- a deep, shaggy fur -- and goatskin, while a stunning bright orange mohair coat had fur sleeves in the same tone, along with pink or blue fur jackets.

A trompe l'oeil knit dress had sleeves growing from the hips and knotted at the front, while a black and red velvet bustier dress extended at the ankle into a slate-grey stole that was thrown back up over the shoulder.

Gaultier was also one of the rare designers to show puffer jackets this season -- in a gesture to people who need a "really warm coat".

Mink and fox topped the wish list for fur lovers at the ready-to-wear shows, although rabbit was a less ruinous way to keep out the chill, printed in bright colours or with a leopard motif like at Isabel Marant.

Britain's fashion icon Vivienne Westwood on Saturday imagined coats in Mongolian lambskin, to be worn over a tunic dress in dusty pink mohair and platform boots with chunky crocodile heels.

Westwood's show was brimming with poetic touches, like a model balanced on a bicycle, in a corset adorned with ostrich feathers, or a bride covered in tulle, a bunch of mimosa on her arm heralding the arrival of spring.

Vivienne Westwood - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

Deep coat hoods were there to hide from the cold, while tweed jackets had large lapels to keep the shoulders warm, paired with boyish leggings, buttoned along the inside seam.

Japan's Tsumori Chisato took the fashion crowd skiing, with a playful collection inspired by a recent ski holidays in Switzerland.

"I loved the cable cars," said the designer, who used her holiday snaps to create original prints for the collection.

But no anoraks, please: for the designer, skiing is no excuse to look a mess.

Ski poles were used as minimalist motifs on a pink coat with blue sleeves.

Blouses and dresses were printed with child-like fir trees or a red cable-car, while photographs of snow-heavy tree branches or a ski run decorated dresses, like a tongue-in-cheek invitation to wrap up and get mountain-bound.

Tsumori Chisato - AW 2012/13 - Photo: Pixel Formula

At Cacharel, where the Chinese duo Ling Liu and Dawei Sun were showing their second collection, the focus was on coats, warm outfits in wool or felt, and sensual knit dresses that wrapped up around the neck.

And the Dutch duo Viktor & Rolf sent out sculptural coats that alternated between deep fur and fitted bands of fabric around the body or sleeves, in a collection inspired by the moon.

US pop star Katy Perry sat front row with bright blue hair as the models stepped out with fur trim on their shoes, highlighting their sleeves or running down the side of tuxedo pants instead of black satin.

Fur was also embroidered onto sheer, lingerie-like long black dresses, that suggested a brothel from the American Far West.

by Gersende Rambourg

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