Young designers kick off Paris fashion

Models present creations by Christine Phung and Corrie Nielsen during the 2014 Autumn/Winter ready-to-wear collection fashion show.

PARIS - Paris fashion made a crisp start Tuesday with young designer Christine Phung's ski-themed collection getting a light covering of crystals to evoke starry skies and glistening mountain snows.

In a winter palette of navy, grey and white, Phung conjured up rock, snow, ice and stars while cerise, plum and sky blue provided warmth.

Accessorised with ski-goggles and skis, looks included burgundy pants teamed with an appliqued cashmere patchwork top and digitally printed pleated dresses that projected a sense of the heat from a roaring log fire.

Coats came in navy, tailored and sprinkled with crystals, and sky blue, loose with wide lapels and oversized pockets.

Stylish and wearable, the young French designer's Autumn/Winter 2014/15 "escape to the mountains" collection was among the first of some 90 ready-to-wear shows that are being staged in Paris over nine days.

Also featured on day one was another young designer, the London-based Corrie Nielsen who after three years of presenting her shows in London was making her Paris debut.

Nielsen made an impression from the start with a venue that alone was a visual feast - a hall of mirrors located in one of Paris's most atmospheric 19th century arcades - Passage Jouffroy.

And the clothes - ruffled and voluminous - were equally theatrical.

Soft golds and silvers were finished off with Duchess satin and French lace, while dark colours such as black, navy and plum evoked "the intensity and darkness of seduction and unapologetic sexual desire", she said in a statement.

Known for her structured silhouettes and sculptural forms, Nielsen likes to emphasise movement and sensuality in her collections but is in large part unapologetically unwearable.

Tops came with protruding shapes at the waist and hip and fronts that looked like breastplates. Skirts had bustles; necklines were adorned with giant bows.

More wearable looks, however, included finely pleated gold- coloured skirts and dark coats with cape-like backs.

The collection aimed to weave "passion, seduction, desire, theatricality and desperation," the designer, who was born and brought up in the US, added.

Her show set a high standard of showmanship for the week, the highlight of which is expected to be former Balenciaga designer Nicolas Ghesquiere's first show for Louis Vuitton.

The show - which will wrap up the nine-day fashion marathon on March 5 - follows the departure in October of Marc Jacobs after 16 years at the helm of the Parisian luxury brand.

Jacobs, 50, who left to concentrate on a stock exchange flotation of his own brand, has been credited with taking Vuitton from "stodgy luggage house" to one of the most sought-after brands in the world, particularly in the lucrative Asian market.

He was given an emotional send off in October when it emerged that his show during Paris fashion week was to be his last.