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The Globe and Mail

Stella McCartney gets geometrical at Paris Fashion Week:

Amy Verner reports on the latest designs from the Paris runways

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For spring, Stella McCartney reduced her collection to a sleek series of ellipses and squares. Layers of organza gave them a hazier outline.


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On other occasions, the shapes were clearly in focus. It was almost as if McCartney was exploring a sporty look within a more abstracted context. The impact of black or colour against the white had the effect of an Ellsworth Kelly or Richard Serra painting.


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The designer juxtaposed all the elliptical shapes by showing jackets with straighter shoulders as well as sharp angles that defined the shoulders. Lucite platform wedges topped with neoprene or organic cotton once again confirmed McCartney's quest to offer novel footwear without using animal materials.


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A boned cotton bustier in spearmint suggests the flare of a peplum; but here, the flounce appears lower down on the hip. McCartney has always been attracted to girl-boy combos, and the slouchy trousers in a slightly iridescent green shows yet another novel permutation of a familiar theme.


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Ellipses return for evening as delicate tissue-paper pleated panels against a backdrop. Their curves play like a geometric counterpoint against the body’s silhouette.


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Giambattista Valli danced between two main looks for spring: light, tailored suiting, mostly grey, stripped of any unnecessary flourishes …


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… And softer, embellished – but no less streamlined – skirts and dresses that were often just sheer enough to reveal the knickers underneath. Valli, who excels at ornamentation, went subtler this season, keeping his appliqués mostly tone-on-tone.


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This was not the first collection by Hedi Slimane for the fashion house now known as Saint Laurent Paris (au revoir “Yves”). But it did mark the designer’s foray into women’s wear. Unsurprisingly, he went heavy on a masculine/feminine message (black skinny suits, pussy bows), which of course, was something the label’s namesake championed decades ago.


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A bohemian sensibility also seemed to dominate the collection – all the long, sheer diaphanous dresses and wide-brimmed hats that often obscured models’ faces. Incidentally, Slimane has moved the design office to Los Angeles, where this look has its roots.


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Slimane did not waver from a long silhouette – and he’s not been the only one. But if Paris Fashion Week, which wraps tomorrow, could be reduced to a single statement, it’s that black is back. And remember, these are spring collections.


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