PARIS – With top actresses away, it was music stars that came out to play at Paris Fashion Week — that fell the same day as the Academy Awards.
Rapper Kanye West — who smiled and refused to talk — shared the front row Sunday evening with another singer-cum-fashion designer, superstar Rihanna. Kim Kardashian was, however, nowhere to be seen.
Here are the highlights and reports from the day’s great shows — including Celine, Kenzo and Chloe.
KANYE WEST AND RIHANNA BOTH COORDINATE STYLES, SKIP OSCARS, TURN UP LATE
He skipped the 86th annual Oscars but was West trying to draw media attention away from the Dolby Theatre ceremony at by wearing a massive reflective emergency band on the back of his long black Givenchy jacket?
Whatever the reason the look matched the other front row star, Rihanna, who was also in black.
The “Bad Girl” singer also ditched Hollywood Boulevard — and, as it happens, a va-va-voom gown — in favour of a black street look and menswear Givenchy jacket with a turned-back cap and mesh on her face.
They have one more thing in common: both turning up late for Givenchy’s warehouse show.
With music and fashion already under their belts, it’s reassuring that Rihanna and West are not also delving into movies. Just yet.
GIVENCHY DESIGNER COMES OUT OF HIS COCOON
The muse was the butterfly: in its cocoon, hard edged then fluttery.
With this, Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci took his foot slightly of the intellectual pedal to produce a highly feminine show.
Styles from the 1940s heyday of Hollywood glamor, in furs and fluttery silk dresses, were the canvasses for this insectoid-musing.
Cleverly, silk ruffles and lapels in gowns or python print resembled a marbled cocoon perhaps moments before metamorphosis. While models wore black filmy stockings to mirror the delicate mesh of butterfly wings.
It produced a great creative synthesis.
The best bits were the luxuriant off-white furs that might well have been worn by Katherine Hepburn had it not been for one thing: their round sculptured arms, which were segmented like a bug.
Old Tisci was still there, of course, in his bright stripes and menswear jackets, but this showed a whole new side to his personality.
DAVID LYNCH DESIGNS FOR KENZO
David Lynch designed the nightmarish Kenzo set — a surreal sculpture of a huge bodyless head with deformed face against a dimly-lit distorting mirror.
It served to jilt tired-eyed guests back to the land of dreams after they had dragged themselves out of bed for the early Sunday morning show.
(That apart from flawless, smiling actress Jessica Alba, who, as usual, didn’t have a hair out of place in bright yellow Kenzo gown.)
The original retro soundtrack, mixed by the versatile film director, referenced a scene in his cult movie “Mulholland Drive,” which stars Naomi Watts as a wide-eyed wannabe Hollywood actress whose life falls apart.
“I wanted to try to get a different feel for a runway show, having mystery and emotion swimming together,” said Lynch.
KENZO’S SECRET ASIAN STYLE
Lynch’s penchant for drama clearly translated into the fall-winter clothes — which the program notes aptly describe as “amplified.”
The undeniably cool styles jumped from lean and tall to high-waisted with exaggerated shoulders, alongside giant lapels and a couple of exploding full skirts.
Then there were the colours: ultra-vivid prints and embroideries — as well as signature mosaics — that graced most of the looks in bronze, yellow, beige, vermillion and grey-blue.
These evoked in fact the luxuriant Siamese silk couture traditions.
It’s a point they don’t dwell on but Asian-American designers Humberto Leon and Carole Lim are heavily influenced by the Asian vestiary in their Kenzo designs.
Here it was seen in cross-over lapels mirroring a kimono silhouette, and horizontal banding on the bust, which evoked the Far East.
The rarely-seen Japanese house founder Kenzo Takada, who turned 75 this week though remains dashingly handsome, applauded from the front now.
CELINE SHOW TICKLES BUT DOES NOT NIP
Designer Phoebe Philo doesn’t put an avant-garde, pedicured foot wrong.
Though her bamboo-floored catwalk collection for Celine perhaps lacked as much creative bang as last season, in almost every enviable, feminine look there was a visual surprise.
The tropical foliage that lined the runway set up a theme — that was ever subtly handled — in slim “leopard print” long coats. When you looked a little closer, there was a beautiful realization: these weren’t big cat spots but look little flowers.
Buttons — normally functional features — were scattered gently away from their holes to become purely decorative on beautifully soft wools in black, green and mottled grey.
While, fur styles were reinterpreted as myriad and patchy single strands of feathers — that looked like porcupine spikes. But with a gentle tickle not a nip.
CHLOE TRIES TOO HARD TO PLEASE
Chloe, the brand who invented ready-to-wear, have a varied clientele and understandably like to please.
In Sunday’s show, British designer Clare Waight Keller tried too hard — creating a myriad of styles that didn’t quite all work together.
Gold Egyptian-style appliques, wide waist bands, masculine knee high swashbuckling boots mixed with colorful abstracted floral leopard.
As ever for the house synonymous with “gamine parisienne” proceedings were super feminine and there were many must-have looks — like one stylish fur coat with yellow and red strips.
But Waight Keller succeeded best when the Chloe girl got complex: one incredible, multi-layered marbled black and white high waisted volume skirt, and a navy dress with almost square with embroidered fabric foliage.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP