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Spring lines in Paris Fashion: Ungaro solid, Lagerfeld experimental in next-season showing at the Louvre.


PARIS -- Emanuel Ungaro presented one of the prettiest, most seasonal shows of the week when he debuted his spring/summer collection at the Louvre.

Perhaps the biggest news of the collection was that Ungaro's penchant for mixing prints was really restrained this time around. Instead, bright solids -- ranging from neon yellows, pinks and blues to muted pastels and earth tones -- dominated this showing of feminine dresses, suits and flowing, pajama-like pantsuits.

Which isn't to say that Ungaro didn't make his print statement: Op-art patterns, primarily in black and white, in close-to-the body separates kicked off the show. Soon after there were some well-cut gingham suits in black or red that were occasionally mixed with a floral print, and later there was a lot of enthusiasm for some understated floral chiffons in muted blue or ivory, shown under easy-fitting butterscotch jackets.

Otherwise, it was solids all the way for Ungaro. The 159-piece collection also was notable for its attention to dresses, both in short sleeves with curvy necklines, and in sleeveless sheaths that, like several shows this week, featured waistlines that were all over the place: high, low and at the natural point.

The designer said that decision was about providing ease and plenty of options.

Evening followed this theme in fluid mousseline and silk crepe gowns in solids and florals, as well as some clean-cut ivory silk sheaths with simple cut-out details at the neck. For the finale, Ungaro sent down the runway three sapphire-blue silk crepe gowns that floated from the body and made a major statement about the designer's dedication to femininity.

"I love women, and I think if you love women, you do beautiful things that make them happy," he said.

Karl Lagerfeld experimented with shape and fabric in the spring/summer collection of his eponymous line.

Though he said he hates the phrase, "high-tech" describes many of the looks worn by the models, who emerged from what appeared to be an enormous transparent camera lens -- fitting, given the designer's love for photography.

But what pulled the focus of this show was what Lagerfeld called his new shape: lightweight jackets over structured skirts that flared from the waist or hips and then slimmed slightly to a knee-length hemline. "It's an unconstructed top over a constructed skirt," he explained after the show. "Normally you have shape on top and a simple bottom. But I wanted the opposite -- it's a floaty, sporty jacket over some structure on the hips."

Several fabrics -- ranging from a shiny black "micro laine" to metal boas to a transparent laminant with paillettes and confetti that the designer called "fused embroidery" -- were termed futuristic by some. "But some of these new materials that you're seeing are just cotton," Lagerfeld noted. "Don't ask me what they do to it to give it this new finish and durability -- all I know is

that 10 years ago we weren't able to do that."

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