Yamamoto paraded out camouflage prints in Paris

Legendary designer Yohji Yamamoto paraded out camouflage prints in fabrics that smacked of war on a Paris runway on Sunday, but used bouncy shapes with an unmistakably romantic flavor.

Yamamoto's collection seemed to say love and passion still have a place in this rough-and-tumble world as the Paris shows for the spring-summer 2006 ready-to-wear season got underway.

In the first few garments Yamamoto sent out, he used camouflage prints for otherwise romantic silhouettes. Jackets and dresses were cut in straight lines with heavy dollops of ruffles and flounces that bounced around the neck and at the back of curvy jackets.

After the jarring contrasts, calm prevailed in the form of his signature navy blue and black angle-length straight dresses worn under long jackets, with lots of asymmetrical details fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

Some jackets had curled bands on the shoulders and tails that trailed at the back, others had full skirts with soft pleats or bustles stuffed underneath. Ruffles were at times flattened into pointed wedges that streamed down the back of a coat or dress for a contemporary urban look.

The touch of passion came in the form of a curvy lipstick-red dress fabric with covered ropes sliding off the shoulders, a detail that carried right through to the bell-shaped white wedding dress at the finale.

For Walter Rodrigues, spring fashion is a four-letter word: S-O-F-T, and the Brazilian-born designer drew his inspiration from Yves Saint Laurent's signature colors.

Rodrigues dipped into YSL's palette of hot pink and tangerine flavors for Northern African garb, and offered up the exuberance of body-skimming 1970's silhouettes.

For daywear, he presented pencil-thin skirts with built-up cummerbund waists, while pleated camisole tops were worn over pleated chiffon trousers.

This year's shows have been billed as one of the prettiest, most romantic seasons seen in Paris in years. Catwalks were abounding with dresses, ruffles and soft, flowing fabrics.

Dresses and skirts _ which made their comeback last season _ will be all-important wardrobe items next spring. Most featured interesting draped, pin-tucked, ruffled or smocked details and empire waistlines.

In contrast to the in-your-face, sexy frocks from summers past, look for ladylike hemlines that fall anywhere from just above the knee to somewhere around the ankles.

Even when bare-midriff tops and pants turn up on runways, hip-huggers still rise to a respectable height - stopping just under the belly button.

For Lie Sang Bong, poetry was the inspiration. Though more known for clothes pumped up with over-the-top, exaggerated 1980s volumes, the Korean-born designer lightened up this time with a softer, sweeter collection entitled, "Imperial Rose."

Daywear featured Edwardian-style pantsuits with ruffled blouses, curvy jackets and straight legged trousers all in dusty boudoir pastels. His usual angular shaped eveningwear was replaced by empire waist chiffon gowns with empire waists and cabbage rose prints.

Igor Chapurin dressed up his Paris debut by drawing on Bolshoi ballet themes. The Russian sent out variations of the chiffon and silk pleated dress worn over dancers' tights crushed over the ankle.

Yu Feng Shaw, who also took his first bow in Paris with a collection designed for Taiwanese label Shawnyi. Asymmetrical dresses came in patchworks of lace and chiffon with handkerchief hemlines and ruffles spilled from necklines and hips, AP reports.

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