Maison Martin Margiela: Finding variations on his beloved recycling theme must be an amusing pastime for Martin Margiela. The secretive Belgian's latest collection of so-called "artisanal" pieces of handmade garments was long on fun and games, with a dress assembled of old vinyl records and a jacket of shredded press clippings about the designer spanning the last 20 years. Anything can be appropriated into Margiela's quirky world. A plastic bag, for instance, lined with silk taffeta, became the bodice of a dress, while an evening suit on a wire hanger was strapped around a model. If that sounds like a lot of hot air, how about 30 balloons inflated and twisted together into a jacket? It may prove tricky to sell, but Margiela knows his commercial gambits, too. In November he will launch a line of fine jewelry in collaboration with Italy's Damiani.
Cathy Pill: Young Belgian designer Cathy Pill crashed the couture calendar with feminine draped dresses in rich color effects. Prints are one of her strong suits, and she worked an artsy graffiti motif that conveyed downtown cool. Though the collection was only a part of the larger ready-to-wear collection she will present in Paris this fall, it packed enough punch to underscore the fact that Pill, 27, is a talent to watch.
Boudicca: Though it wasn't exactly couture either, Brian Kirkby and Zowie Broach, the designers of the British label Boudicca, gave a small presentation of confections. Broach said that they wanted to explore the idea of transparency (think juxtaposed layers of translucent lace and cotton) as a counterpoint to their first fragrance, Wode. It's packaged in a graffiti can, is billed as a visible perfume and comes out blue before turning transparent. In fact, many of the dresses had invisible prints that appeared only when the fragrance was applied.
PHOTOS BY GIOVANNI GIANNONI AND DOMINIQUE MAITRE