- The Washington Times - Monday, January 26, 2009

Sobering times

French actress Beatrice Dalle praised the black-and-white Dior Homme collection of Kris Van Assche shown Sunday in Paris. She said it was “really nice, really sober.” Then she added with a smile, “Although sobriety is not necessarily what I look for in a man.”

Mr. Van Assche sent out billowy pants - almost in a bubble cut - that bucked the overall trend in the Paris menswear shows toward slim trousers, Associated Press reports.

Elsewhere in Paris, designer Paul Smith turned to the English schoolboy look with a tweed-heavy wardrobe and penchant for irreverent mixing and matching, using some primary colors and hot pink, bow-ties, and clunkyplastic eyeglasses.

Mr. Smith said his show’s emphasis on accessories, which also included colorful shoes and scarves, was a response to the financial crisis. “During recessionary times, people maybe spend money on smaller things as a [cost-effective] way of adding to their wardrobe,” he told AP backstage. He also said his brand sells about 3 million pieces a year and has yet to be affected by the economic downturn.

On Saturday, veteran women’s wear designer Antonio Marras made his menswear debut at Kenzo with a collection that gave feminine elements like flowers and embroidery a masculine twist. “I tried to add this special touch that embroidery gives, but in a really masculine way,” the Italian designer said through an interpreter. He said he was careful to “avoid the precious, vulgar side of embroidery.”

Much of the Kenzo line evoked Soviet soldiers’ uniforms, from overcoats to leggings that recalled army-issue thermal underwear. Models marched the runway in shearling hats with ear flaps.

Romance over

People.com reports that a Buckingham Palace source confirms reports that Britain’s Prince Harry, 24, and his Zimbabwe-born girlfriend Chelsy Davy, 23, are calling it quits after five years. The jolt comes just three weeks after the duo “spent a romantic holiday together” on Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, People says.

“They are remaining friends,” says royal source told People.” “There have been all sorts of reasons given [for the split] but suffice it to say they felt that it had run its course.”

Britain’s News of the World says that Miss Davy, the daughter of a millionaire safari operator, decided she was tired of the prince’s playboy antics.

Miss Davy, by the way, is a post-graduate law student at Leeds University in England. Her former prince is beginning a 2 1/2-year training program as a helicopter pilot in the Army Air Corps.

• Compiled by Richard Slusser from wire and Web reports

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