Last updated: March 2, 2011 6:08 pm

Galliano fall casts a pall

 
Hakaan autumn winter collection
 Suiting from Hakaan

Paris Fashion Week began under a cloud of Galliano; the mood was dark, and so, appropriately enough, were the clothes.

Consider this piece of text from Josephus Thimister, a designer whose reappearance on the ready-to-wear schedule after a number of years away is a counterpart to Galliano’s fall: “Big black coats become shrines of souls – confused thoughts are frozen into wild knits – ephemeral wrappings storm around bodies with hurricane force.”

No, this is not a joke: he was talking about his collection, a parade of skinny trousers under cape-like shirts with bat-wing edges, draped and wrapped all-in-ones, gorgeous hooded bubble capes and multi-texture knits in black and white, with a little grey thrown in for good measure, but he could well have been writing a koan for the industry.

Certainly the people sitting beside his runway seemed full of confused thoughts – not least because all of Thimister’s garments, romantic and gothic as they were, trailed weird and inexplicable ribbons from each sleeve. It’s not the best frame of mind in which to begin a fashion week.

And things weren’t much clearer at Hakaan, where 1980s sex bomb dresses alternated with slouchy suiting (pictured). Terrifically cut loose trousers under sheer tops and double-breasted jackets were followed by terrifically uncomfortable looking thigh-high body-con dresses (once with what looked like a feather diaper), and all-in-ones came halter-necked and bare-backed or in a trompe l’oeil jacket wrapped across the body in grey flannel (nice), while evening gowns were cut up to here and out to there (vintage Versace), and everything was once again in black and white and grey, with a bit of red thrown in to snap everyone out of their stupor.

They woke up enough to start a game that’s probably going to go on until the end of the season: guess who’s going to get Dior? This week, Project Runway is going to have a whole new meaning.

vanessa.friedman@ft.com

More columns at www.ft.com/friedman

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