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Laurence Xu Fall Couture 2013

Shandong, China-born, Paris-based Laurence Xu paraded highly embellished, vividly colored gowns that were an opulent melding of Western cuts and traditional Chinese symbolism and techniques.

A regal, dark purple gown embroidered with cherry blossoms had a medieval feel, as did a cape in emerald-colored fur decorated with golden flowers. A gold strapless sheath erupted into a bell-shaped skirt of black ostrich feathers almost as wide as the model was tall. Underscoring the red-carpet appeal of Xu’s extravagant designs, Taiwanese actress Pace Wu modeled the finale gown, with its bodice made of strings of pearls and a floor-length navy blue voile skirt and dip-died train.

The backdrop for the Xu’s first couture show in Paris was a giant wooden loom, while two women sat embroidering a richly hued motif onto black silk, highlighting Xu’s support for the handicrafts of his homeland.