Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Nouveau Punk on Paris Runways

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

It's Nouveau Punk on Paris Runways

Article excerpt

FASTEN YOUR safety pins, prepare your body parts for piercing, bare your arms - and legs for that matter: The French fashion battle has begun.

As the collections opened on Oct. 8, The Punks were taking on The Polished in what promises to be an all-out spectacle.

And though both sides will be hiking their hems way up above the summit in the biggest news of the season, the Paris pack is split when it comes to what tunes they'll be humming.

Though some new far-out sound waves are traveling in from the United States and London, there's a camp in Paris pushing what Milan has already heard - Nouveau Punk.

Some say it's a backlash or a reinterpretation of America's short-lived grunge phenomenon, but whatever it is, one thing is clear: "After the grunge and the hippie, punk is what we were waiting for, no?" Karl Lagerfeld asks.

"Something's bubbling, that's for sure," agrees designer John Galliano, who has resurfaced this season after skipping a fall collection. "Last time I was in London, I saw a lot of chains and body-piercing.

It seemed like everyone's face was pierced," said the designer, who, despite the micromini kilts and safety pins he presented, is part of the Paris assembly that's heralding what he calls a return to elegance this season.

Galliano, who is one of the few young designers today concerned with "old techniques, like those of the grand old couturiers," says, "After all, what can one do after all this negativity? Women have been shortchanged for quite long enough now, and we should return to things that mean a bit more."

Leading the neo-punk revolution at this point is none other than Jean Paul Gaultier, who, it seems, still has religious affiliations this season, even if it's of another sort.

Instead of "Hava Nagila," Gaultier should have been chanting songs of "Tattoo You" in the cultlike show he presented.

His model casting called for those with already existing body-perforations - everything from eyebrows, noses and tongues to the most traumatic pierce of all, the bellybutton. …

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