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At Rochas, The Silvery Sweep of Winter

PARIS, March 1, 2006 - Imagine a Monet canvas of 19th Paris at twilight - touches of silvery gray, a plume of black smoke billowing from a sooty chimney, the snow-white effect of wintry haze - and you have the essence of the Rochas collection for Fall 2006.

Meant to evoke chimney sweeps of a bygone era, Oliver Theyskens turned his sketch book into a study of dark and broody impressionism. His exquisite evening gowns appeared to be plumes of tulle and silk smoke - a technical effect of irrisistable charm that gave so much polish to these pieces. Even the short pant suits and shimmering cocktail dresses that permeated the first half of the show looked sleek and urban.

On a day that spit snow in Paris, and at the end of a fashion season that had editors yearning for spring (Hamish Bowles said on leaving the Gaultier show on Tuesday that he'd had to take a 12 hour flight to the Caribbean between Milan and Paris just to get a dose of sunshine), Theyskens made you almost crave winter - or at least the icy beauty of it.


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