Dior hems plunge, Lanvin celebrates at Paris shows

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PARIS (AP) - The buzz at Paris’ ready-to-wear shows on Friday wasn’t just about the clothes.

Bill Gaytten, former designer John Galliano’s temporary replacement, was again at the helm of Christian Dior’s fashion collection, directing a demure, play-it-safe show that channeled the powerhouse’s bread-and-butter New Look-inspired gowns with cinched 1950s waists.

But the collection was almost overshadowed by chatter that Gaytten, who was supposed to continue for only a few seasons, may be kept on longer.

Will he become the longest-serving interim designer in fashion history?

Day four of the frantic nine days of the Paris fashion calendar was also colored by the celebrity-filled, energetic spectacle offered by Lanvin.

Israeli creative director Alber Elbaz was toasting 10 successful years at the company, with a strong and creative array of dresses that revisited several eras of the house’s clothes rail all the way back to the Art Deco days of Jeanne Lanvin.

There is reason for the company to celebrate with an impressive 24 percent increase in sales last year alone. A second celebration is planned for April in Beijing.

In other shows, Sonia Rykiel presented a comfy but high-collared journey through different looks and eras of the Parisienne gamine.

On Saturday shows include Dutch designers Viktor & Rolf and Paris’ enfant terrible Jean Paul Gaultier.

LANVIN

“Dreams, history and the past,” Alber Elbaz said of his extravaganza show that celebrated and retraced his 10-year journey as creative director of Lanvin.

Every inch of the couture, ruffles and shimmer that revitalized the house over the last few years was on display Friday, including reinterpretations of 1960s vintage pieces from the iconic archives.

Celebrities, like singer Mika and actress Tilda Swinton sat in the front row, behind whom some 2,000 revelers applauded exquisite cocktail gowns that included patches of the Art Deco fur of Jeanne Lanvin’s 1920s heyday.

Spotlighting dappled the colors of scuba-like neoprene dresses with peplums and inflated arms in canary yellow, emerald green and royal blue.

Reading like a Lanvin fashion encyclopedia, the theme switched to a leather-infused take on sportswear jackets with a dazzling array of reworked parkas, perfectos and bombers.

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