Joust Kidding ...

“Crusade” is a taboo term these days—except in anarchistic Fashionland, where armor-style corsets, lance-proof belt buckles, silver-mesh leggings, and big cross pendants abound. Women warriors dictate what to wear, from shiny metal breastplates and sexy shield jackets at Dolce to platinum-sheathed legs at Balenciaga and chain mail at Dior. Pure Joan of Arc. The medieval French legend—the maid of Orleans—made a stunning appearance at Galliano's couture show for Dior last spring, we recall—accompanied by flags, pennants, and golden trumpets. No wonder everyone's jousting to triumph with this trend. . . Plenty of Jeanne D'Arc coifs, too—unflattering, short flatheads, except on our new fave, the platinum-topped Agnes from England. Despite the feeling of fanfare, there's not much color at Dior except pale pinks and neutrals; ditto Lagerfeld, who opted for only purple, black, white, and navy. What happened to spring in bloom? That egg-yolk-colored Jil Sander suit back in Milan now seems rather brill. Certainly the French excel at ceremony, and the French edition of Marie Claire's annual Prix d'Excellence de la Mode is no exception. This year, our own Fashion Director Tracy Taylor presented the Best Celebrity Style award to Dita von Teese—the vintage-clothes-loving burlesque queen from Michigan, and of course, Mrs. Marilyn Manson. (We love that Dita once fired a stylist for suggesting that her fave 1940s pumps would look good with jeans. The French know une dame elegante when they see one). Says Tracy, “Dita couldn't have been more gracious. It was great for the U.S. team to have such a moment in the company of our international counterparts.” After working up a huge American appetite—and it being well past midnight at that point—Tracy and her fashion team, Kathryn Floyd and Tara Stewart, made a beeline for the Hotel Costes to indulge Tara's craving for mashed potatoes. Kathryn, meanwhile, could talk about nothing but her insatiable appetite for French shoes. “Went on two fabulous shoe appointments. In fact, they're my two favorite shoe designers, Christian Louboutin and Pierre Hardy. I got to meet Pierre, who was so refreshingly humble—how pleasant, as he's such a genius, and geniuses can be difficile! Pierre had a variety, from mega-platforms, like the Dior runway, to fabulous flat sandals. My faves were a chic white and tan flat and a rose gold flat sandal with cool baubles all along the toe. And his bags look great this season. Louboutin's bag line has more than tripled this season and looks very nice. And the shoes were mostly fabulous heels, my favorite being a great navy and black leopard-print heel. Lastly, Tara and I checked out this great new Japanese designer, Koji. I think it's going to get big soon—fun blouses with attached vests, great minis, pretty dresses, etc. We overheard them making appointments with Barneys, Bergdorfs, Neimans, and Bendels. Need to keep this label on our radar! Want more? Try Marie Claire FREE for more fashion & beauty trends [...] [...]

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