Backstage before her show, Vanessa Bruno
offered up a patchwork of references and ideas—Jane Birkin circa 1968, monster truck rallies, punk, and traditional French fabrics like vintage rose prints. On the runway, it became a literal patchwork. The designer began by piecing all sorts of sweet florals and block prints with strips of flashing silver Lurex. "Like a futuristic Laura Ashley," she said. With a cue from Birkin, the silhouette leaned toward the sixties in straight-cut shift dresses and skirts with high hems as well as stand-away jackets. But there was also a strain of Courrèges in icy white boxy suits, not to mention those zip-front knee boots. Still, you imagine Bruno's fans will first flock to the bohemian, rather than frosty and futuristic, side of things. Also on the hit list: the flowery anoraks with drawstring necks (a fresher take on what's become a fashion standard) and crafty fringed handknit cardies and ponchos. By the end, Bruno ticked up the toughness. Industrial grommets were embroidered onto organza skirts for a kicky cocktail hour look, and punky scraps of what looked like Hells Angels wings and Sunday-Sunday rally fliers were worked into T-shirts, a touch of exotica in the gamine's world. "It's not aggressive but a cool edge," said Bruno. Mission accomplished.