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A New Generation Steps Up

By Timothy Hagy

PARIS - January 28 - On Monday, Helmut Lang's resignation from his own label was officially announced by Prada, and on Friday, a designer from the newest generation of Austrian fashion looked ready to step out of his countryman's long shadow. Petar Petrov, aged 27, chose to show his fall collection in the Espace Commines where Lang debuted decades ago. But that was the end of any similarity. Petrov's look is young, pulsing and urban, void of the bondage and S&M undertones that hindered Lang's commercial viability, albeit enraptured the fashion press. The era of "The Night Porter" is out, and a new Vienna - one multi-color, multi-national, and cutting edge is in. Music pounded, while the models (two Arian Teutonic, and four gentleman of color) thread their way around the rows of stark bleachers. Of particular interest were the form-fitting rubber pants, the burst of florescent apple-green abstract print jackets, and a fire engine-red lacquered suit. Elsewhere, the use of subtly colored pinstripes was counterbalanced by boss gloves and cool, shinny shoes. Petrov's tailoring was sharp, and his look young. He's made a huge step forward from where he was just one season ago.


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