Vuitton gives star-filled happy ending to dark Paris season
PARIS (AP) — The Louis Vuitton red carpet was rolled out at the historic Place Vendome on Wednesday for a much-needed happy ending to a Paris Fashion Week marred by the multimillion-dollar heist of Kim Kardashian West's jewelry.
A roll call of actresses that included Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Connelly, Michelle Williams, Sophie Turner and a heavily pregnant Lea Seydoux joined tennis star Roger Federer in the front row.
And what a show it was.
Here are the highlights of Wednesday's ready-to-wear collections, capping the Spring-Summer 2017 season.
LOUIS VUITTON: THE CLOTHES
In lauded designer Nicolas Ghesquiere's finest collection since restyling the house in 2013, the French designer exposed his passion for the 1980s and riffed on science fiction.
Big hair, big shoulders, big sparkle, big prints, big eyes: that was the mantra for Spring-Summer.
Bold, sunset-shaped eye makeup that stretched from ear-to-ear set the fashion dial firmly to the age of Glam Rock.
That era also was known for its obsession with sci-fi films, a reference Ghesquiere picked up on in his 45-piece show.
Styles that evoked "Star Wars" were seen in lozenge patches over the bust, curved asymmetrical forms on shirts with metallic sheer overlays, tunic-like gowns with boots, and armor-like white shoulder pads that looked like they might have been snipped from a Stormtrooper's back.
But the beauty of the collection was in its remarkable silhouettes and the deftness of the cuts that made it a more grown-up display than those to which we've become accustomed.
A loose gray jacket with structured, mushroom-shaped oversize sleeves produced a stylish silhouette as it gently curved out at the bottom.
The designer, who revitalized Balenciaga during his tenure there from 1997 to 2012, seems to be doing the same at Louis Vuitton.
ALICIA VIKANDER SURPRISED
Oscar-winning actress Vikander landed in Paris on Tuesday and was surprised to discover her face plastering billboards all around town.
"Well, I didn't actually know, but I arrived yesterday and I see that my film ("The Light Between Oceans") is coming out today in France, so I've seen the posters up," she told The Associated Press from the Louis Vuitton front row.
The "Danish Girl" star may well not have enough time to talk to her PR team on her movie release dates as she's simply too busy jet-setting around the world.
"I live on an airplane. I'm kind of a nomad living out of my suitcases," said Vikander, wearing a white blouse and cleanly cut Louis Vuitton naval jacket.
And when she's not in the sky, she's busy with her new role as film producer.
"I just produced my own film after starting my own company last year. I wrapped my first production a week ago, 'Euphoria,' with Eva Green and Charlotte Rampling," she added.
US AMBASSADOR BIDS FAREWELL
Ever since Jane D. Hartley became U.S. ambassador to France in October 2014, the well-groomed diplomat has been a regular face on the front rows of major shows such as Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton.
But Hartley's appearance at Louis Vuitton's Spring-Summer show, where she wore a black Vuitton T-shirt with silver zigzags, may be her last.
The ambassador, who sat in the front row next to LVMH's Bernard and Delphine Arnault, spoke to The AP about her passion for fashion and her sadness at bidding farewell to the spectacular Paris shows.
"It's wonderful being in Paris and being at these shows and the beauty and the style. I'm lucky," Hartley, 66, said.
"I think it's such an important industry here, but it's an important industry back in the U.S. too. It's beautiful, it's creative — but we really can't forget it's a job creator on both sides of the Atlantic," she added.
Hartley, the second woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to France after Pamela Harriman, will leave her post following November's U.S. presidential election.
MIU MIU GOES SWIMMING
"Inglourious Basterds" star Diane Kruger donned a Miu Miu double-breasted pajama print suit to Prada's little sister show in Paris Wednesday. Model Alexa Chung came with tousled hair and a fringed black leather cowboy jacket.
The celebrities' styles couldn't have been more at odds with the retro mood of the multi-colored Spring-Summer collection.
Miu Miu took fashion insiders for a dip in a 1940s swimming pool.
Flowery swimming caps in black, red, yellow and white accompanied high-waisted, low-cut knitted swimwear that evoked the bygone days before the proliferation of synthetic materials.
Decorative cross-stitch embroideries on tight-fitting tops with frilly hems and period Peter Pan collars evoked the post-World War II era, as did patterned fabric scarves worn tied around the head.
The second half of the 53-piece collection fast-forwarded to the bright colors of the 1960s, with oranges, blues, yellows and pinks cut with the brown hues favored in that decade.
The collection showed again Miuccia Prada's expertise in combining the intellectual with the fun.
MONCLER GAMME ROUGE
A barren desert and rugged boulders provided an assault course of sorts for Moncler Gamme Rouge's battle-tested models in the French military-inspired Wednesday show.
Hybrids of the hard, round, shiny-tipped hats worn by the French Foreign Legion were the opener.
And in case there was any doubt about the theme, designer Giambattista Valli used sashes with the French tricolor flag across round-collar tops and repeated the color combination on sneaker Velcro straps.
Straps, for perhaps a parachute, structured a '60s-style, sporty mini-dress in stone.
When the signature flowers finally appeared — Valli famously loves his blooms — they were imagined as a print on an X-shaped dress that evoked the military through its stiffness and shoulder epaulettes.
It was an interesting and focused display.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP