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Paris couture season kicks off with frivolity, seaborne life


PARIS (AP) — Schiaparelli kicked off haute couture season Monday with plenty of glamorous frivolity and exaggerated silhouettes ahead of the highly anticipated show by powerhouse Christian Dior.

Schiaparelli also offered surreal takes on classics harking back to the 1930s heyday of house founder Elsa Schiaparelli.

The mood at the first spring-summer couture show of the season was enlivened by gold accents and intricate embellishments in front of a a slew of VIPs inside the gilded atrium of the Petit Palais.

Designer Daniel Roseberry was in top form, taking classical styles and giving them unexpected twists. A dark tuxedo with stiff oversize shoulders was transformed into a minimalist, space-age jumpsuit.

A bronze bustier reimagined as a giant oyster shell rose up like a fan to obscure the model’s face. Its stunning pearl embellishments were rendered in organic, crystallized layers showing off the deftness of the house atelier.

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Myriad embellished baubles — almost resembling wet pearls — organically dripped off a blown-up bolero jacket as if it had been created for a seaborne princess.

The collection was also reverential to the house founder whose unique brand of frivolity charmed audiences around the world. A giant lion’s head — replete with fangs and bushy mane — added a bite to this collection. It was fun, inventive and smart — a nod to Surrealism but also a powerful statement about the use of fur.


Against the grain of Paris Fashion Week, which is turning its back on digital, Dutch wunderkind Iris van Herpen said she was proud to announce that instead of a traditional runway show, the brand “shows a digital presentation that allows for more creative freedom and storytelling.”

Van Herpen offered an in-person presentation of her spring collection as well as “Carte Blanche,” a stylized video in which she teamed up with French artist Julie Gautier to explore how feminine beauty can be used as a form of control.

A limp red dress, with sinews revealing inches of flesh, resembled a poisonous sea creature, while interlocking circles evoked spiky coral. Billowing blue and silver portions of generous fabric adorned a flowing gown, reminiscent of the organic inspiration of the award-winning couturier who designed for such artists as Bjork.

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