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In addition to her vacation-ready staples like low-slung linen trousers and easy-on, easy-off shirtdresses, Hash delivered flouncy little skirts that were a swirl of chiffon and pants with trompe l’oeil kangaroo pouches. Cropped blazers topped off the looks, in a palette of seashell grays, powder pinks and sandy taupes.

Such was the smoldering sexiness of these casual clothes that it was hard to keep from picturing them strewn across the floor of a chic Paris hotel room.


Cardin said his show Wednesday was made up of “timeless pieces.”

“Timeless” because the cat suits in fluorescent spandex that opened the show _ with plastic rings that stood out from the body at the waist, elbows, wrists and knees _ harkened back to the designer’s debut more than half a century ago. The interminable parade of lampshade dresses and polyester power suits that followed looked as though they’d been dug up out of the label’s archives from the ‘60s and ‘80s.

The collection, which was suffocating in spandex and drowning in sequins, highlighted how very thin the line is between fashion’s cutting edge and its polar opposite. While some of the looks echoed recent retro-futuristic offerings at red hot labels like Balenciaga or Indian madcap Manish Arora, Cardin served them up without a hint of irony, with an earnestness that in the cynical world of fashion tends to make people look away in embarrassment.

The 88-year-old designer wasn’t reinterpreting his work through today’s ironic lens and high-tech fibers, but serving it up straight, polyester and all.