Roman Polanski has been on a lot of minds lately, Sonia Rykiel
's included. She, however, had reasons other than the obvious to be giving thought to the beleaguered director: His film Tess
was the very loose inspiration she claimed for her pre-fall collection. What Rykiel wanted to get across was the idea of a country girl coming to the city. What we got was a kind of sophisticated prairie chic, with a dominant silhouette of long, languid skirts and high-waisted, sometimes tiered, dresses. The languor is pretty much a Rykiel signature, as are the knits that appeared here oversized, as though the country girl might have borrowed her farmer father's cardigan. But Rykiel also wisely showed the slim, structured looks that define Parisian chic to the world. Where the doomed romance of Tess
made its presence felt most strongly was in a funereal color palette of earth tones, army greens, and anthracites. A trim poppy-red coat, belted high and accessorized with a great big detachable fur hood that tied with a red ribbon, was a bright spot. The same lightheartedness boosted the stellar footwear, especially the stiletto booties quivering with Mongolian lamb and the knee-high numbers that would have gladdened the heart of a cross-dressing hussar.