Talent Contest: New Designers at Paris Fashion Week

An inspiring crop of first-timers at Paris Fashion Week are rising to the challenge.

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Heal’s cashmere jersey parrot dress

Photo By Dominique Maitre

Irfé’s cocoon cape

Photo By Dominique Maitre

Crisis, schmisis. Off the runways, an inspiring crop of first-timers at Paris Fashion Week are rising to the challenge, some boasting heavyweight financial backing and others simply courage.

Norway’s Kristofer Kongshaug, who will show for the first time here from Saturday to March 13 at the Door Studios, is one to watch. His darkly architectural line, handmade in Italy, features deft construction techniques, with one heavy felt wool coat fashioned from 60 pieces of fabric.

Private backers Hugues and Marie Taittinger will host a debut presentation for the Heal collection on Tuesday at 5, Rue Clement Marot in the 8th arrondissement. Designed by the husband-and-wife team Hervé Koelich and Alice Reydellet, the experimental line ranges from a scuba diving-esque jersey bodysuit to a textured navy cocktail dress with a giant parrot appliqué. Fun daywear options, such as a gorilla-print silk skirt, lighten the lineup.

Elsewhere, L’Officiel’s jewelry editor, Emily Minchella, and Caroline Baltz Nielsen, who works in the luxury timepiece sector, will present their new young cashmere line, Leetha, featuring T-shirts, ready-to-wear and accessories, on Sunday and Monday at Hotel Costes.

The sprawling ready-to-wear and accessories collection by Irfé, the revived Russian couture house, runs the gamut from a sleeveless, cocoon-shaped wool coat to a multicolor cocktail dress constructed from panels of draped silk. Developed by creative director Olga Sorokina, the line, produced principally in Europe, includes gloves made by Agnelle and jewelry made by Florentine artisans.

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