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French Designers Display 'Nouvelle Couture'
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There was something all the ladies in the nouvelle couture show by six French designers during Shanghai Fashion Week. The looks included ultra-feminine, casual, elegant, rock-n-roll, armored and Gothic.

After a fashion shows it’s fair enough for people to comment, "I don't like those clothes!" However, this was not the case after the French fashion show at the ongoing Shanghai Fashion Week 2006. Six talented French designers displayed "nouvelle couture" and there truly was something for every woman.


From ultra-feminine to rock-n-roll, from elegant to Gothic, from heavily layered silhouettes to clean lines it's surely difficult for a woman to say "no" to so many different styles.


Anne Valerie Hash is no stranger to Shanghai's fashion mania as her designs can be found in the city's prestigious shopping complexes Three on the Bund and Lane Crawford. Her collection, which is ultra-feminine, is dominated by skirts about knee length, chiffons and laces, ribbons and knots. The waist line is not emphasized to create a fluid look. The skirts are casually presented with black or white leggings to showcase the models' ankles.


Adam Jones, on the side of the coin, dressed up his models in sharp and clean silhouettes. The palette is black and white, with a flash of silver to add a futuristic touch. Models appeared in white shorts and jackets, super mini-tiered skirts and all-black long pleated evening gowns. An egg-shaped dress was matched with a fitted fur-trimmed jacket.


Sharon Wauchob named her 2006 fall and winter collection "Gothic Princess," an all-black collection that accentuates women's figures while maintaining an androgynous style. The models, tightly wrapped in the delicately layered fabrics, walked to background music featuring a clock's ‘tic-tock’. Evening gowns were made of either satin or transparent voile and exuded a mysterious, sexy feeling.


Designer Lutz Huelle made all his 12 models approach the audience at the very beginning of the show and then walk back to the stage one by one afterwards. His clothes are created for a light season in which round collars open up generously and jacket hems fall just above the thigh. There's a subtle composition of different fabrics and generous volumes and the designer plays with an audacious mix.



And Felipe Oliveira Baptista presented a collection of clean lines that he says is inspired by armor. The collection appeared with a somber palette of black, white, big black and white checks and murky turquoise. But with every garment the designer explores the art of structure, asymmetrical or overlapping. Large wing motifs stand off the shoulder.


Last but not least, the 13 sets of outfits by the design team of Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst were utterly shocking as some models went to the runway in outfits that were inspired by traditional nuns' habits. All models -- whether wearing trench coats or low-cut evening gowns in white -- also wore nun-like head coverings and their mouths were covered with little white stripes.


The outfits included everything from a cardigan sweater to a shirt-dress. The color palette was restricted to whites and blues -- from azure to royal blue.


The six designers were brought to Shanghai by Didier Grumbach, president of the Federation Francaise de la Couture, du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode. As members of the prestigious French organization most of them were in China for the first time.


"The designers have all showed great interest in the Chinese market," Grumbach says. "In the past seven to eight years about 80 percent of our designers' clothes were exported to other countries. Before the US and Japan markets were the two most important to us. However, we believe that China is the next stop."


The Federation Francaise de la Couture, du Pret-a-Porter des Couturiers et des Createurs de Mode was established in 1973. It originated in the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture created in 1868.


(Shanghai Daily November 1, 2006)


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