We always look for trends as we move from one fashion week to another and this season has seen a rather unpleasant trend in every city: bad weather on the first day. Rain in Paris, though, still has that romantic quality to it that the snow in New York just didn’t have. One simply darts into a small cafe`, has a cup of espresso and perhaps strikes up a conversation with a stranger before making your way to the next show. While conditions certainly are not as comfortable as we might desire, we don’t feel as though our bones might deep freeze before we make it to the next door. So begins Paris Fashion Week.

Having the distinction of being the first show on the schedule is a little cashmere shop with a delightful little designer who spends almost as much time in Japan and Korea as he does here in Paris: Lucien Pellat-Finet. Lucien is primarily a cashmere shop, but recently has branched out and worked with designers in other fields to participate in projects such as the creation of a set of tree chairs; that is wood chairs that look very much like the trees from which they were hewn. Perhaps all these little side projects explain why this is such a small show, held in his Paris showroom, with only two models trading back and forth between the nineteen looks.

Interestingly enough, I was expecting a rather conservative collection of sweaters and jackets, nothing too elaborate or surprising. I was wrong. Pellat-Finet is very much in touch with current trends and especially the Asian youth market. So, while on one hand we did see some very nice, rather conservative pieces, there were also pieces with skulls and hemp leaves. In fact, the skull meme occurs rather often through the collection, especially on accessories that not only include clutches and brass belt buckles, but throw pillows as well. Perhaps the most eye-catching piece is a black suede varsity jacket with the skull on the back.

Of course, as one would expect, the sweaters still outshine everything else in the collection. Working in a palette of grey and soft pastels, Lucien provides a set of incredibly soft sweaters that are not too bulky and play wonderfully well under suit jackets or over button-down shirts. Even here, though, he still adds applique skulls on a couple of the pieces, just to keep the theme going. With a collection this small, one has to assume that the full set will go into production, but then, Lucien’s production tends to be on the smaller side, with fewer than 500 copies of any one design being planned.

Larger, more glamorous, and more flashy shows await here in Paris, but this Lucien Pellat-Finet demonstration was a nice, peaceful way to get things started on this rainy morning. He does take limited internet orders and that is probably the best way to purchase from the US. Now, one more cup of espresso before we continue, please.

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