March 02, 2011 Paris
They did, and it all sort of made sense. The designers had turned Spring's Joan of Arc into a sharper, more modern girl in shiny-buttoned woolen admiral's coats, twisted and cinched at the waist with harnessed and buckled knee boots. As each model walked out she stopped midway and took a slow turn to reveal some sort of bustle-cum-tail feather, whether it was pleated shirting jutting out of a jacket vent, a leather crinoline frame, or even a bit of newspaper. You could spy cotton shirting printed with newspaper, visible from pushed-up sleeves, and the designers also used the real McCoy to stuff into pleated skirts for a kind of padded-out effect.
By the end the contrivance in all its various forms grew a bit old, but the clothes didn't, particularly all that terrific tailoring and a few bias-cut silk gowns worn with cutaway jackets or tumbling, rough knits. And is it so big a leap? Giving birds a new set of feathers is what designers do every season.