Designers in Paris Tout 20th-Century Style

A model wear a creation for Christian Dior's ready-to-wear fall/winter 2018/2019 fashion collection presented in Paris, Tuesday Feb.27, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — The subzero temperatures didn’t dampen Paris Fashion Week, which began Tuesday with dark ’80s atmospherics at Saint Laurent and a bright flower-power ode to female empowerment from Dior.

Here are some of Tuesday’s highlights at the fall-winter 2018 fashion shows:


Gabriella Wilde’s frayed silk Dior skirt was a little too diaphanous for the Paris winter weather. The British actress shivered at the Dior photo call before she quickly ducked inside to join Cara Delevingne and Dylan Penn.

A heaving mass of celebrities, editors and photographers soon thawed guests that had arrived at Paris’ Rodin Museum to see Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri’s latest artistic production.

A model wears a creation for Lanvin's ready-to-wear fall/winter 2018/2019 fashion collection presented in Paris, Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

The venue was emblazoned with mantras such as Hillary Clinton’s “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights,” providing a clue that Chiuri — the fashion house’s first female chief — would press ahead with the feminist themes that have proved the best-sellers from her previous collections.

The show — a brightly colored, patchwork-rich ode to flower-power, female empowerment and the ’60s — didn’t disappoint. Orange shades and peaked dark cap hats mixed with check menswear jackets and assertive black thigh-high biker boots.

Abundant woolen looks — like a thick knit maroon dress with a cinched waist — captured the age of the awakening of women’s lib. And flowers were ubiquitous.

The program notes said Tuesday’s Dior collection marks 50 years since 1968 — the turning point of the civil rights movement — and the way in which Vogue magazine under Diana Vreeland mirrored that shift in a “sartorial revolution.”

The last look — a psychedelic column dress with embroidered tulle blooms in traffic-stopping reds, blues and yellow — took the concept of flower power into a whole new gear.

A model wears a creation for Saint Laurent's ready-to-wear fall/winter 2018/2019 fashion collection presented in Paris, Tuesday Feb.27, 2018. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)



In a strong-shouldered red military jacket, actress Charlotte Gainsbourg posed for cameras ahead of Saint Laurent’s warehouse-style show in front of the Eiffel Tower.

An eerie feeling pervaded the collection of clothes that recalled the 1980s and were done in black or doused in glitter.

The dim beam light in the show decor evoked a hybrid of a disco and a prison courtyard. A smoke machine chugged out wisps of mist.

Some guests bumped into each trying to find their seats, and the first of the black styles were so faintly lit the detail of the clothes was lost.

The effect was intentional. Anthony Vaccarello has consistently created dark atmospherics in his presentations since becoming Saint Laurent designer in 2016.

Huge fringed boots, black mini dresses and voluminous sleeves in black gave way to loose metallic disco dresses with strong shoulders and plunging necklines. They shimmered in the dappled light.

There was a brooding sensuality in many of the details, such as shiny black leather gloves or a black fur band wrapping the bust that was set against naked shoulders.

The piece de resistance?

A black column dress that evoked a tuxedo and had a front section artfully cut out. Instead of a white shirt, the opening revealed a bare chest.


Day two, Wednesday, saw themes from the natural world, to the Roaring Twenties to the era of Glam Rock channeled.


For his sophomore outing, designer Olivier Lapidus continued to lead Lanvin down its newer, more commercial path.

Lanvin is the oldest couture house in continuous existence and as such it holds an almost sacred place in the fashion firmament.

Reports last year that the relatively-unknown Lapidus (the house’s third designer in as many years) planned to make Lanvin into “a French Michael Kors” were greeted by fashion insiders with snooty indignation.

Many criticized last year’s debut show. Wednesday’s was a compromise. It towed the line between some more salable color-blocking looks with the generous couture that has (until now) defined the house.

Bright hues — such as a yellow cadmium satin split dress and fitted ultramarine pants — provided an eye-catching reference to the ’80s. In a nice touch, the pure color was so high-key it often looked fluorescent, but its impact was diminished by being used on otherwise conventional silhouettes. Belts with large square jewel encrustations were sometimes just distracting.

The best looks came when Lapidus stuck to the house DNA. A frothy, black pleated tulle couture gown hung down in a diamond from the bust. The material was so diaphanous it created myriad layers of transparency, and the pleats evoked almost the shell of an insect.



“Graphic glam” meets “artful” were the words Belgian designer Dries Van Noten used to describe the concept of his complex fall-winter show that swirled with lines and prints.

But “encyclopedic fashion check list” might have been a better suggestion for the ambitious and stylish collection.

Geometric shapes that referenced the 1930s’ Art Deco movement were used with flair on a broad, round-shouldered coat.

The metallic grooves in its pattern evoked an artist’s etching.

Elsewhere, the Twenties were evoked, continuing the heady era’s revival on the Paris Fashion Week runway. (The house of Poiret whose heyday was in that decade is being revived in Paris this season.)

Here, those styles were captured in silvery skirts with a pointed hem and on soft, loose silhouettes that did away with the body.

Bold glam rock looks completed the fall-winter collection.

One gargantuan ultramarine coat captured the bold exuberance of the early Seventies with a beautifully generous cut.


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