For sportswear-loving American women, who are currently beguiled by suede (SI, March 5), the happy surprise from Paris last week was the news that the French rulers of high fashion share their passion for deerskin, calfskin, kidskin and goat. At the opening of his fall couture collection Guy Laroche showed quilted coats of suede over suede culottes. Marc Bohan of Dior lined blue suede with nutria. Yves St. Laurent had a whole group of dresses and skirts of a fabric that looked like black patent leather. Leather fatigue hats, suede berets, leather jewelry, were everywhere. Even Balenciaga, elegant master of the beaded ballgown and the beautiful suit, startled his customers with buckskin vests over tweed skirts. Women's Wear Daily called it "a great collection for today's new way of living—a sporting look for the open air." The fall leathers (and on the following page an old favorite which has become a new hit) are shown in the open air of the ch√¢teau town of Chantilly.
Deerskin suit, with the sheen of pewter, is worn on garden walk by Maryll Orsini. Guy Laroche designed jacket's easy lines, pleated skirt.
Calfskin shawl does double duty, matching black calfskin skirt on one side, honey wool-crepe blouse on the other. This ensemble from Cardin is shown by Julietta de Brie near Pavilion St-Hubert in Chantilly.
Kidskin suit, with the glow of burgundy wine, comes from Nina Ricci boutique, which fitted its double-breasted jacket with a chin-snuggling collar. Maryll wears it in the garden of a country inn near Paris.
Suede shirt, almost as long as a nightshirt, has slits in the sides for easy pocket access and the saddle stitching characteristic of famous house of Hermes. Molly Babcock wears shirt over plaid wool pants.
The culotte gets a leg up, too
The divided skirt, or culotte, long worn by women for golf, tennis and such fence-climbing sports as beagling, is another Paris hit this season—and is sure to be repeated all over America. Marc Bohan has a "Pantskirt" for Dior; Laroche has suede culottes; Simonetta-Fabiani even has full-length culottes for evening wear. The sportiest culotte of all comes with Hermes' new canvas shooting suit worn here by Julietta de Brie. She is comfortably propped on a shooting stick on the grounds of the Ch√¢teau de Chantilly.