by Penny Martin .

Alber's incredible shrinking women

It was all a matter of scale at Alber Elbaz's Autumn/Winter Lanvin show this evening, which concludes my week of Paris shows. Emerging from a giant doorway erected in the splendid Opera Comique, the models looked like tiny Alices, hardly reaching keyhole height in fashion wonderland. As at Balenciaga, there was a play on volume, with full, frilled skirts swinging from sheer, chiffon bodices. The Casablanca-born designer's trademark satin dresses and fruity colours were much in evidence, but there was also an emphasis on tailoring, with some sharp trouser suits and fitted black dresses. The styling referenced the forthcoming 'Victor/Victoria' mixed gender trend, with surprisingly sexy velvet bow ties at the throat. There was also a surreal touch, with the contours of a little red dress superimposed on the front of a black one, creating the illusion of reduced width. With Stefano Pilati and Catherine Deneuve in the (wholly appreciative) audience, apparently Elbaz has been adopted as a bit of a national hero. Not only has he the ability to manipulate the proportion of his models, starlets treading the red carpet at tonight's Oscars will no doubt confirm that Elbaz's own stature continues to skyrocket.

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