- Associated Press - Thursday, July 8, 2010

PARIS (AP) - Franck Sorbier proved that in couture, it’s creativity and technical savoir faire _ and not deep pockets _ that really count. The veteran Frenchman’s fall-winter 2011 show in a tiny hall lent to him by Sotheby’s auction house, was at the opposite end of the spectrum from the big-budget megaproductions put on by luxury conglomerates. But the collection didn’t suffer for it _ au contraire.

Sorbier has gone trough hard financial times of late, and Wednesday’s collection _ full of his trademark inventive, almost surrealist, looks in a rainbow of buoyant colors _ represented a return to happier times.

A bustier in papier mache from old newspaper clippings had faux nipples made from wine corks. A baroque mirror with an ornate gilded frame was strapped to the model’s chest, like a bustier. Woven raffia in saturated jewel tones became a ravishing, African-themed sheath dress. A Plane Indian coat in leather hung with dangling fringe was paired with a ballerina’s skirt worn low around the model’s ankle.

An off-the-shoulder dress vibrated in bubblegum pink, while a long, lean, lacy evening gown smoldered in fiery red lace.

As Paris’ three-day-long haute couture collections wind down Wednesday, Sorbier’s show was a much-needed reminder that couture need not be smothered in sequins or dripping with rhinestones to be desirable.

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