Fashionlines Online Magazine
Fashion & Trends People & Places Art & Design Beauty & Health Shopping About Us Editor's Note
This Season's Trends

Customize Your Style >
Chantal's Secret:>
Versace Luxe Jewelry >
Could Fashion Soon Sing the Blues? >
Risks and Rewards of the Birkin Bag >
Let the Fur Fly >
Tom Ford Visits Oxford >
Family Jewels >
LA Finds >
Ins and Outs of 2005 >
Young Parisian Chic>
Couture Snowbunny>
Haute Couture Fashion Week>
Paris Men's Fashion on the Move>
São Paulo Fashion Week >
In the Bag >
My Couture Valentine

Featured Designers
Vivienne Westwood >
Jenni Kayne >
Paris Updates >
Brasil Anunciação >
as four Interview >
New West Coast Designers >
Elsa Schiaparelli >
Louis Verdad >
Au Bar with Alber >
Troubled Times at Jean Paul Gaultier>
Fashion Blues >
Passing the Torch at Geoffery Beene>
Hilfiger Buys Lagerfeld >
The Legend of Winston>
All in the Mists of Time >
LVMH Sells Lacroix Couture >
Spring 2005 Carol Christian Poell >
Runway Report
Haute Couture - Spring '05 >
São Paulo Fashion Week >
Paris Men's Wear - Fall '05 >
Paris - Spring '05 >
Milan - Spring '05 >
NY - Fall '05 >
LA - Spring '05 >
SF Fashion Week >
By Timothy Hagy, Paris Editor

THERE IS A SILVERY BEAUTY to Paris even in the darkness that surrounds the winter solstice. On Christmas night a bright winter moon rose in the eastern sky. The next morning, the first sparrows began to sing before dawn, amid the falling sleet and snow. On the top floor of a luxury fin-de-siècle apartment building on Rue de Bourgogne, a warm light broke through iron latticework on a windowsill, and then splashed like golden puddles onto the sidewalk below. The constant swipe of a street cleaner's brush tapped through the darkness, his florescent green uniform flickering beneath a corner light.

If this was post-war Paris of the late 40s, then fashion would be in full flower, and Ernest Hemingway would be holding court at the Ritz bar.

As it is, the Hemingway Bar is now located on the Rue Cambon side of the Ritz, and during fashion season it is descended upon by hordes of Condé-Nast editors, usually huddled tightly together at corner tables as if plotting some unfathomable conspiracy; by high-priced call girls waiting for the sound of a cellphone that would herald an offer from one of the Arab sheiks that now populate the suites of the upper échelon; by dowagers come to view the springtime collections, ordering 'pick-me-up' Sapphire martinis before retreating to the gold-chandeliered restaurant, L'Espadon, there to dine upon slivers of truffles and poached swordfish in emphatic isolation.

But as this is Paris 2005, that world is quickly becoming anachronistic. A fast-changing global economy, evolving lifestyles, persistent deficits and corporate bankruptcies have given the collective fashion set a bad case of the jitters. There is a growing sense that change is inevitable, and that the sumptuous style of the past is likely to be transformed into a more terse statement of contemporary elegance.

During couture week, the faithful who come this season, will be entitled to only three days of shows for the first time in the history of Haute Couture. Of the seventeen runway presentations on the officially truncated calendar, only six member houses are actually showing, while eleven others have been invited by the Fédération Française de la Couture to fill holes. In the end, the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz (Rue Cambon side) is likely to see fewer regulars.

If there is a theme that is emerging, it is that the big names of the past are quietly disappearing, and that what is shown nowadays by the remaining titans is done so mostly as window dressing/spectacle that will ultimately shake down into sales of perfume and accessories.

Then you have an influx of young designers that are actually selling clothes, often putting together shows on limited budgets. Ralph Rucci, On Aura Tout Vu, and a sprinkling of others come to mind.

Karl Lagerfeld's latest business venture with Tommy Hilfiger could provide a glimpse of what may be down the road, and in the very least has generated more interest than the next Chanel couture show.

Change comes, either as gently as the passing seasons, or as persistently as the smell of decadence that permeates the hallowed halls of the Ritz - all that is left to do is to observe.



Contact Us | Subscribe | Visit the fashionlines-lookonline-zoozoom forum | Fashionlines Archives | “Jewels By Christine”

© 1998-2005 All rights reserved.