March 04, 2009 Paris
As you entered, you were greeted by gauzy tulle dresses backlit to expose their beading, pintucking, and sequins, all of which were done by hand. Inside, a drop-waist number, a navy skirtsuit, a hand-knit heavy gauge silk dress, and other looks were positioned on mannequins around a mirrored centerpiece that allowed for glimpses of the surprises in back: a transparent chiffon illusion neckline, a pair of zippers behind the hips to create a smooth waistline. Other touches—the crochet silk lace at the hem of pleated skirt linings, ribbons inset into the linings of menswear blazers, intarsia Rochas logos on the inside of cashmere cardigan pockets—are details intended for only the wearer to enjoy.
It was interesting how different a look this was from the one Olivier Theyskens created for Rochas. While still delicate, Zanini's version is much more pared down—intriguingly, the restraint of the work recalls what he briefly did at Halston two seasons ago. "This is simplicity in French," he said. It's an approach that has created a collection of pieces that feel quite right for this time. All in all, a promising start.