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Paris Couture: Cardin Honored; Sergeenko Faces Backlash

Paris Couture: Cardin Honored; Sergeenko Faces Backlash

Wednesday, 24 January 2018 12:38 PM

PARIS (AP) — Ninety-five-year-old French fashion icon Pierre Cardin made an exceptionally rare appearance at Paris Couture Week, while model Naomi Campbell led fashion industry insiders in criticizing prominent designer Ulyana Sergeenko over a racist slur.

Some highlights from Wednesday's spring-summer shows:


Cardin, who founded his influential brand in 1950, attended a couture show by Jean Paul Gaultier that paid tribute to his styles.

The Italian-born designer is a contemporary of Christian Dior, who died in 1957. He is, along with Hubert de Givenchy, one of the last living members of the post-War fashion generation.

Age has done little to dampen the designer's famed acerbic tongue and frankness, who said the homage was a tad dramatic and remained undoubtedly the "personal" work of Gaultier.

"It was creative, but quite theatrical all the same. That's the will of Gaultier, his personality," Cardin said.

"He is an artist. I am very proud for him," he added.


Cardin's most famous decade, the 1960s, was the era that infused Gaultier's couture on Wednesday.

Bold black and white looks dominated against a backdrop of psychedelic swirls, riffing on the graphic avant-garde designs that made Cardin a household name.

A circular black and white striped dress in silk crepe that captured the designer's signature Space Age vibe led down to theatrical tights: one white, one black.

Then the bubble dress, a Cardin invention, was evoked reverentially in a bi-color gown with double face crepe that was cut into strips on the skirt.

Cardin's designs were often used as creative starting points, and Gaultier made sure the 51 looks never felt like an archival check list.

Still, the show suffered from perhaps too many ideas — such as Asian styles, candy prints— and would have benefited from more focus.


Model Naomi Campbell has led fashion industry insiders in criticizing prominent Paris-based designer Ulyana Sergeenko, who casually used a racist slur in a note to a friend during Paris couture week.

Russian Sergeenko handwrote a note addressed to "my n---s in Paris" alongside a smiley to blogger Miroslava Duma, who posted a photo of the note online Monday.

Sergeenko, whose new collection was shown Tuesday, said the reference was inspired by a Kanye West track with the same title.

Campbell was among those shocked and wrote "this better not be real" in reply.

Sergeenko posted an apology Tuesday that made matters worse saying "and yes, we call each other the N word sometimes when we want to believe that we are just as cool as these guys who sing it."

The house didn't immediately respond when contacted by AP.

"It's really shocking to see comments from people you admire. Are they detached from reality? It's not fun to be a racist or a bigot," said Bryan Grey Yambao, also known as Bryanboy, a Filipino fashion blogger.

It's not the first time that controversy over a racist slur has shadowed Paris fashion week.

In 2015, shoe giant Timberland severed all ties with French menswear company APC after its house founder Jean Touitou used the N-word in a live narration at the APC menswear show — reportedly, again, in homage to West.

"Have people not learned their lessons," Yambao added.


To brash Jazz music worthy of a party hosted by F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Lebanese designer Elie Saab put on his dancing shoes for an exuberant ode to the Roaring Twenties.

Paris, "the city of love, the city of sin," was the setting, as models in column silhouettes slinked provocatively down a gilded stone staircase and onto the catwalk.

It wasn't just the music that was attention-grabbing.

Giant neck bows, embellished cloche hats, capes, split legs and plunging necklines came alongside cinched waists. Mini-skirts on models were richly adorned in sequins and ostrich feathers.

The strongest part of the 54-design collection was Saab's exploration of the Art Deco styles popular in the post-World War I era. One black gown with structured silver and gold accents got its power from the simplicity of its silhouette. Sometimes, less is more.


Certain Paris Fashion Week houses pride themselves on careful image control and restrictive press access.

As privately-held brands, this is their right — although it can sometimes be excessive and lead to accusations of elitism.

Invitations are sent to carefully selected journalists and buyers, and some houses prefer smaller venues. The system is thought to increase the mystery and cachet of the clothes.

Like Balenciaga, Maison Margiela under John Galliano is one of many with a highly strict policy.

This spring-summer season Maison Margiela extended their media clampdown to all photographers, sending out a note explaining they would be handling the photography "in-house."

The unusual move meant that all images of the spring-summer couture are now under the direct control of the Maison Margiela house.

Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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Ninety-five-year-old French fashion icon Pierre Cardin made an exceptionally rare appearance at Paris Couture Week, while model Naomi Campbell led fashion industry insiders in criticizing prominent designer Ulyana Sergeenko over a racist slur.Some highlights from...
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 12:38 PM
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