The curtain came down on Paris men's fashion Sunday with two high-concept shows that had walk-on roles for Solange and K-pop sensation Lisa.
Kenzo's design duo Carol Lim and Humberto Leon said goodbye to the
French label with Solange as the surprise performer in the same Paris
stadium which Elton John had packed to the rafters a few nights
The Californians' ended their eight-year reign with a bang as the
American star appeared on a platform to sing "I'm a Witness" in between
the men's and womenswear lines.
The brilliantly choreographed event had started with a similar wow
moment when a huge curtain was pulled away in front of 600 or so
fashionistas to reveal several thousand more people on the other side.
Having conducted her 11-piece black-clad brass band, Beyonce's younger
sister then walked arm-in-arm with the designers to acknowledge the
ovation at the end, with the feminist English rapper M.I.A in the front
Balmain's Olivier Rousteing got the weekend rocking late on Friday night
by making the hot French DJ Kiddy Smile the centre of his
- Real-life Japanese mermaids -
The young French creator -- who often dresses big music stars for their
tours -- also threw open the doors by giving away 2,000 tickets.
"Everyone is talking about inclusivity from behind their screens but no one is actually doing something," he told reporters.
Inclusion has been one of Lim and Leon's watchwords, and their final
Kenzo collection was inspired by Japanese Ama divers, the "sea women"
who have been diving for pearls for 2,000 years.
Traditionally, the divers only wore a loincloth and the pair picked up
that motif with rippling, silkily aquatic clothes that weren't obviously
sexy but were utterly sensual at the same time.
Men's and women's lines were peppered with gorgeously original fishing
and mermaid metaphors, with a fluidity and a dreaminess about the
clothes, particularly in the play with pearls, urchins and little
touches of foaming silk and organza.
While Lim and Leon went out on a high, you could be forgiven for feeling
that Hedi Slimane, Mr Rock Chic himself, was treading water somewhat.
The style superstar who is credited with the skinny look has taken a
terrible kicking from critics since unseating the beloved feminist
creator Phoebe Philo at Celine.
- Slimane's retro flares -
He closed fashion week with another no-expense-spared show that began with an awesome theatrical device.
As for the clothes, the big news is that the "Sultan of Slim" has
jettisoned his trademark drainpipes, the trousers the late Karl
Lagerfeld once lost nearly 42 kilos (92 pounds) to fit into, for flares
worn long over heeled boots.
Skinny though lives on in the rake-thin male models, every one wearing black aviator shades.
In fact, Slimane's "Celine 04" collection was very much like a male version of "Celine 03" -- a walk down memory lane.
This time it was a sometimes literalist re-creation of what American
West Coast rock star types were wearing circa 1973, with a sharp couture
sheen and added sparkles.
Tight leather jackets and flares, unbuttoned shirts and three-piece
double breasted suits with white cowboy boots, red carnation button
holes and long thin scarves.
- Fans scream for Lisa -
Some tops carried downbeat slogans from New York artist David Kramer's
paintings such as "Yesterday was better", "My own worst enemy" and
"Downhill from here".
You could not help but wonder if Slimane -- whose army of loyal
free-spending fans are known as "Slimaniacs" -- was teasing his critics,
with one of Kramer's images carrying the caption, "...There is no irony
Fans did scream at the end but it was more for Lisa, the Thai-born
rapper of Blackpink fame who is Slimane's new "official muse" and who
was in the front row.
There was much joy to be had elsewhere with the reinvigorated British
brand Dunhill and Paul Smith, the doyen of English tailoring, showing
there is plenty of creative life left in variations on the suit.
But the big breath of fresh air was the young French designer Bruno
Sialelli confirming the promise of his debut collection for Lanvin with a
show held at a swimming pool.
Quirky, cool, cute and a lot of fun to look at -- and clearly to wear --
Sialelli turned out a collection that played with every cliche of the
French summer and seaside and somehow made them look new.
It was hard not to smile at his tricorne straw hats.
Not for him the pasty, androgynous models that often dominate the Paris catwalk.
"I wanted the boys to eat well and to look healthy and strong," he told AFP.
"Now I need a holiday, he added. "I mean, I love my work but holidays are the best things in life, no?"
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