Alber Elbaz has been putting an inordinate amount of thought into making his vision of glamorous dressing an easy, relevant proposition for modern women. The most striking example came midway through his show, when an elegant twisted loop in the back of a short black silk dress was unpinned to fall from the shoulder, transforming itself into a starkly simple train. Every woman in the audience got this immediately: Two fabulous dresses for the price of one.
There were other such devices, like a kind of draped silk apron that untied to leave a bare shift beneath, or a gray sheath that came with a couple of removable net layers. For day, there were vests that could be worn over or under coats, and detachable shirt collars and cuffs to pop into dresses according to mood and occasion.
More simply, Elbaz reprised some of the elements that have brought him a growing following (a wide age span of fans that includes both Kate Moss and Gretchen Leach, wife of the American ambassador to France, both sitting front row.) The collection featured his taffeta trenches, the satin ribbon details he's made his own, a slew of his signature dresses, and his much-copied use of jewelry. He pinned slightly antiqued crystal flower brooches on day dresses and popped shredded chiffon roses in buttonholes; evening saw a reprise of his sparkling ribbon-backed neckpieces, now grown into long multiple strands. Still, it was the simplest of his dress ideas that stood out as the most modern and provocative: a white satin tank dress, knotted up the side with bows, slipped under a glamorous cloud of tufty, gray-tipped fox.