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Experimental S. Korean designer kicks off Paris fashion week

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Paris fashion week kicked off on Tuesday with a bold, "masculine" collection for women in neutral colours by experimental South Korean designer Moon Young Hee.

With Paris playing host to close on 90 ready-to-wear collections and presentations over nine days, the Paris-based designer was among the first on show, sending out an eye-catching autumn/winter 2013/14 collection of voluminous trousers, ruffle-covered tops and floor-length skirts.

A master of layering, known for her fluid, feminine designs, she limited herself to a restrained palette of black, white, grey and ecru.

Speaking after the show through a translator, she told AFP her collection aimed to combine her trademark style with a more "masculine" silhouette.

Elsewhere, vibrant reds and blues dominated at the Ground Zero show.

Trousers, jackets, skirts and mini-dresses came in prints that were almost hallucinogenic, teamed with bright red or blue trousers or ribbed ecru sweaters.

Le Moine Tricote stuck to a sombre palette of black and beige with dashes of orange for its winter collection.

Long knitted tops edged with frills were teamed with short skirts.

Other looks included full skirts with a lace effect and streamlined two-tone dresses.

Three Belgian designers -- Veronique Branquinho, Cedric Charlier and Anthony Vaccarello -- will present shows later Tuesday.

The talented trio are the latest in a string of Belgians who have found success in Paris including Dries Van Noten and Dior's Raf Simons.

Asked to explain the success of his compatriots, Charlier told AFP this week that Belgium was a country full of surprises.

"It's such a small country. One had the impression that there is nothing there, that we must create everything... That pushes one to be imaginative," he said.

"There's a freedom of expression there that you don't find in Paris... where the past influence of couture is always felt. In Belgium, everyone finds their own way," he added.

Big-name customers include US reality television star Kim Kardashian who was pictured in one of his dresses on Monday.

Vaccarello, too, has no shortage of famous followers including French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg and top US model Karlie Kloss.

The highlight of the week is expected to be New York star Alexander Wang's first show on Thursday for Balenciaga, the illustrious avant-garde fashion house founded in 1919 and now one of the jewels in the crown of the PPR luxury group.

Wang, one of the hottest names in US fashion whose own label is thriving with over 200 stateside outlets, was announced last December as the replacement for Nicolas Ghesquiere whose surprise departure came after 15 years with the French fashion house.

All eyes will also be on Simons and Saint Laurent's Hedi Slimane, with each due to present keenly anticipated second collections that fashion watchers hope will see them make their mark.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130226/experimental-s-korean-designer-kicks-paris-fashion-week