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Paco Rabanne Gets Reborn

PARIS - March 5, 2005 - If anybody was expected a cameo appearance by Paco Rabanne at Saturday's show, they did not get it. And if there were any devotees looking for heavy metal chain dresses, they didn't find them.

What was sent out on the catwalk instead was a reborn label, delivering an entirely new message - one aimed at a contemporary, and slightly more provocative woman.

But that was already clear from an interview the House's new American designer, 38-year-old Patrick Robinson, gave AFP last week. "What I saw of the house was a house that had been doing almost the same story over and over and over, which was a metal dress and a plastic dress, for the last 30 years," he said. "And that to me seemed old."

And today he delivered on his promise to renew Rabanne, literally sweeping away the last vestiges of tradition, save for a metal necklace or two, and the glittering trimming of a handful of dresses.

Dark and brooding, chiffon skirts cut of geometrical panels whisked by, even as dresses molded of shimmering shingles oozed that most quintessentially French of all traits - sensuality. Perhaps the highlight of the collection was fur - whether coyote trimmed sleeves, or a bolero-like top with long fuzzy appendages, it was enough to catch the eye of Anna Wintour, U.S. Vogue's Editor-in-Chief, who had just the day before had a most unpleasant foie gras moment courtesy of PETA.

Streamlined and sleek, the new Paco Rabanne seems destined for a bright future.

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