Conjuring more black magic on runway

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Conjuring more black magic on runway

The drama of a Gucci fashion pitches up from the first moment and doesn't subside until it's over.

Gucci unveiled its 2002 fall/winter collection recently at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. Local fashionistas, arriving early and in black, staked out their turf in the lobby of the hotel's Grand Ballroom, then regularly swiveled their heads like surveillance cameras at the newest arrival -- "Who is that girl in black?"

Paparazzi rushed around to take pictures of local celebrities posing against black walls. And the guests whispered again -- "Who is that?"

Once the door to the Grand Ballroom was opened, at 7 p.m., the excitement swelled up, and the black-clad people proceeded into the blackness of the ballroom. Everything, everywhere was black -- except for a blinding spotlight, a large fountain-like arrangement of white orchids on a table, and a stretch of creamy fake fur carpet on the runway.

The show began, and to swinging blues, Gucci men in black commenced their ever-so-self-conscious striding. With hair sleekly parted and greased back, they exuded the luxury and glamour of the young Rudolph Valentino. Classic elements -- wool trench coats, pea coats, fedoras, ascots and pointed black patent-leather wing tips ?completed the retro look with finesse.

But classic didn't mean boring. Large coats with square shoulders came with oversized pockets with wide flaps; coarsely woven sweaters were cropped at the waist.

Corduroy has made a big comeback this year; but Gucci's corduroy is not about Prince Charles' country home. It's about sleek gigolo cool at the glitzy Cotton Club. All jackets -- in wool, suede and corduroy -- were cut squarely on the shoulder, narrow in the waist and had two slits in the back, which was just long enough to cover the backside.

Now hold your breath, as nothing is more tantalizing than Gucci women strutting out in dangerously high heels. The look this season: Gothic diva.

The Korean supermodel Park Dul-seon walked down in complete black, wearing a kimono-inspired oversized top matched with skinny satin pants and a pair of campaign shoes: sexy strappy stiletto. The hair was wild and big. Eyes were strong and smoky, cheeks sandy beige, and lips glossy in natural hues.

The show's prominent wooden cross necklaces and lace-up details might have been more at home in ancient monasteries, but here the sophisticated mix and match of dark chocolate and raven black were undoubtedly urban.

Playing the size card is another key this season: Go for big over skinny. Oversized tops, reminiscent of 1980s power suits, went over skinny satin pants or hip-hugging knee-length skirts topping oh-so-high heels. With a Japanese-inspired flair, a wool jacket bore Japanese motifs or was cinched at the waist with a kimono sash. The wide slits at the shoulder of a black blouse revealed bare shoulders and arms, and geometrically cut dresses revealed smooth backs or legs.

A light-as-air black silk cape floated above a dark goddess wearing a floor-length evening dress.

The common thread in the creations was that they all conveyed the energy of Tom Ford, who has proved his talent for creating looks of explosive sexuality in various themes since he became Gucci's global design director in 1992.

After the show, the guests were treated to a champagne toast. But by then they were already dizzy from the intoxicating aura of Gothic beauties. And their eyes were still roaming the black hall -- "Where is everyone going?"

by Inēs Cho

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