Martine Sitbon and her art director partner, Marc Ascoli (the man who has worked on advertising campaigns for everyone from Jil Sander to Yohji Yamamoto), are one of the boldface fashion couples of the City of Light. Naturally, their show often attracts the hipper, artier elements of Parisian society: If there isn't a groovy little contingent of women who look like Jane Birkin circa Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus and men with scruffy hair and (deliberately) scruffier suits, then something is amiss.
But it's not just Sitbon's status that draws the crowds: Her collections lure them in, too. She has perfected, over the past few seasons, a move away from her stark, severe look to something that's much easiera kind of dreamy romanticism shot through with a street-cred sports vibe. She's also demonstrated an original way with color: This fall¿s combinations, as evinced by the paneled velvet and silk dresses that closed the show, might include mushroom, cream, scarlet, and sapphire blue.
The best of the bunch were the thirties dance dresses that looked like they could have stepped out of a Brassai photographall layers of pearl pink or creamy white chiffon, undulating hems, fluttery sleeves, and intriguing decoration. One had a gently quilted bib front and cap sleeves. There were also some fine cable knitsa slow-burner trend in Parishere used for short fitted sweaters that had sleeves like tiny shrugs. Some of the tailoring, however, didn¿t make the grade, partly because the idea of reversing jackets and coats so that the linings show is never wise, partly because the cut was so ungainly it committed the cardinal sin of making the models look dumpy. The next time Sitbon shows, it will be those chiffon dresses that grace her front row.