It's 'The Munsters'! Paris catwalk's arch Lurch


Paris (AFP)

Gigantic monocles and a new look that had more than a touch of Lurch from "The Munsters" gave the Paris catwalk an arch American air Sunday.

Balenciaga's red-hot designer Demna Gvasalia, whose ironic eye has skyrocketed sales, sent out a bolt of Frankenstein-shouldered suits and coats with obvious echoes of the towering butler from the 1960s US sitcom.

Big square-toed black boots completed the just-off-the-mad-scientist's-operating-table look.

While they raised a smile, the big new thing from the Georgian provocateur who also leads the ultra-hip Vetements label, were his high "incognito collars", perfect for A-listers in need of anonymity for their grocery shopping.

Hailey Bieber -- the model wife of the pop star Justin -- in the front row of the show looked like she might be his first customer.

She also took a shine to Gvasalia's new peaked pointed shoulders, which gave his black architectural jackets a devilish edge.

She wore a black leather coat with them to the show, matched with Balenciaga thigh-high boots.

With his tongue presumably deep in his cheek, Gvasalia also introduced his new range of "Easy Eveningwear (which) encompasses the idea of wearing something all night after a long day, while At-home Outerwear imagines wearing something all day after a long night."

The designer loves nothing better than to tweak fashion conventions and pretentions, and he said he drew this collection from the "real Parisian of today... (with) patterns and shapes emblemising common daily activities -- grocery shopping, commuting via motorbike, and going out after work."

- 'Mad Men' -

New York designer Thom Browne also loves to play with caricature -- particularly of the classic images of an upper-class Waspish (White Anglo Saxon Protestant) America -- in his clothing and often spectacular shows.

His women's autumn winter collection began with girls being boys in trenchcoats and grey suits straight from the Madison Avenue of "Mad Men" which his show lovingly parodied.

But as it progressed and Browne's imagination ran riot, the briefcases were transformed into "doggy bags" (leather bags made in the shape of beagles) and models in three-piece tweed suits wore mad monocles that arched right over their heads.

The monocles were picked up in two-tone prints on co-ed black evening suits with satin-edged lapels and dickey bows as Browne had as much fun as it is possible to have with the the archest of tropes of posh Manhattan.

Valentino followed Nina Ricci with the return of big cloche hats, this time tied around the neck with the rim extending down over the forehead.

Italian designer Pierpaolo Piccioli went for black and white prints of Rodin's sculpture of "The Kiss" breaking out of coloured frames of roses and butterflies in a bold collection that had a strong whiff of late 1960s couture about it.

The prints also appeared on a white trenchcoat and a series of long dresses, but mostly he kept the look short, with mini dresses and tight black boots just above the ankled.