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Esteban Cortazar Ready To Wear Fall Winter 2015 Paris

Well before kick-off time at Esteban Cortazar, the designer knew which pieces had worked commercially and which hadn't. For his sophomore collection in Paris, the 30-year old designer repeated last season's unusual tempo: first the selling, then the show. For young designers ― even those who garnered attention at the helm of a house like Ungaro at 22 ― retail is the make or break factor that decides their future. Challenging the industry's timetable and placing retail at the heart of a designer's business is a novel idea that a handful of designers are beginning to enforce. For Cortazar, the numbers hold up, and his retailer list reads like a Who's Who of worldwide heavy hitters, both digital and brick-and-mortar: Net-a-Porter (with Natalie Massenet in attendance), Printemps, Lane Crawford, Barney's and Holt Renfrew, to name but a handful.

Quieter than his summer, the fall continued along the same lines, including a carryover of his multi-buckle jacket of the summer, inflected by a fringe motif that harked to pantheism and primal sensuality. There were some winners, like a pantsuit cape or a flame red dress precisely assembled in leather, with brass "dot" bolds marking closing points. Clearly, you could get behind the pieces where wearability made good use of his recognizable signatures. Elsewhere, Latin sensuality came across in garments with space-carving folds frilled at the edges. It could have been a sculptural variation on flamenco folds, in contrast with the thick neo-hula fringing.

The former didn't necessarily fall as fetchingly as intended. There is no doubt a subtlety to them lost in translation in the blink-and-you-miss-it runway passage.