That boudoir feel was nowhere to be seen, however, in the
billowing quilted nylon dresses and skirts that ended the show -
unless Simons was envisioning a high-fashion sleeping bag.
Still, the audacious fabric and colour combinations, such as
emerald green and fuchsia, kept fans of the house of Dior
buzzing, and Rihanna, who sipped champagne from the front row at
Lanvin the night before, slipped backstage to schmooze with
Designer ready-to-wear, or pret-a-porter in French, is an
85-billion-euro ($116 billion) global business, according to
Euromonitor, and the fashion week that runs from Tuesday through
to March 3 is a major advertising weapon for brands.
Rihanna, one of many celebrities including model Miranda Kerr
and actress Jessica Alba who cropped up this week, did not let
the weather get her down. At a Lanvin after-party, the
"Umbrella" pop star showed up in a see-through fishnet top,
while at Dior, black-gartered stockings peeked out underneath a
CABLE-KNITS WITH BARED FLESH
Despite Rihanna's opting for bared flesh, a cold-weather outdoor
vibe seemed to infuse the week's presentations, with Gisele
Bundchen closing the Balenciaga show with a top that was part
grey wool ski sweater and part black satin blouse.
That modern ski chalet mood infused the collection from Artistic
Director Alexander Wang, who used zippers, hems of leather and
perforated fabrics to bring a sportswear feel to the couture
house's ultra-modern silhouettes.
Barbara Bui presented a cozy collection of cable-knit ponchos
and sweaters in winter white, although her midriff-baring black
cropped jackets were more downtown than alpine.
And at Balmain, designer Olivier Rousteing took inspiration from
Africa in a leopard-infused collection that transformed his
models into modern Masai goddesses.
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With cargo pants front and center, Rousteing combined khaki leather
and suede in a warrior-inspired looks, complete with armour-like
tunics cinched at the waist, and intricate and elegant roped
While black tends to predominate in most fall-winter collections,
splashes of colour emerged in unlikely combinations. Mustard and
leopard combos at Carven, the unexpected spring-like lavender at
Nina Ricci, the pink, yellow and navy florals at Dries Van Noten or
Dior's maroon juxtaposed with fuchsia, all provided a jolt.
That maroon colour cropped up repeatedly during the week, including
at Chalayan and at Rick Owens, where the programme notes described
the shade as "dried blood."
Despite the front-row stars, the crush of photographers and the
glamourous catwalks that make fashion week what it is, sales of
French ready-to-wear are expected to shrink for the seventh straight
year in 2014, according to estimates from the French Fashion
Institute. ($1 = 0.7309 euros)
(Reporting By Alexandria Sage)
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