PARIS – The sky was the limit for powerhouse Christian Dior which built an entire floral mountain within the Louvre to house its 15 minute show at Paris Fashion Week. On the front row was Rihanna, attracting almost as much attention as the decor. Here are the highlights of Friday’s shows:
Rihanna causes mayhem
The pop star and Dior brand ambassador swooped into the Louvre to a flurry of paparazzi flashes, and posed in front of a myriad of blue flowers. The backdrop complemented the stylish singer’s clothes – a pink Dior couture cape dress from the fall-winter collection, with an exaggerated pocket, and raunchy boots.
Inside, she appeared relaxed and took selfies, even as the media scrum around her wall of bodyguards ballooned to near chaos.
Dior says it with flowers (and a mountain)
It took 400,000 stalks of blue Delphinium flowers, 40 tons of sawed lawn, and 100 people working day and night for over three weeks.
An entire mountain, replete with flaming blue blooms which glistened in the sun, was the near-impossible feat of creation that powerhouse Christian Dior achieved for their Friday show.
The audacity of the size – 60 metres wide and 18 metres high (197×59 feet) – was made even more audacious by its location: inside the oldest courtyard of the Louvre museum, of which the 16th century stones poked out behind the flowers.
Bloggers gawped, models used it as a posing backdrop, Elizabeth Olsen pouted, and Rihanna swooped past it as a flurry of paparazzi snaps captured the unlikely sight.
As soon as the show ended, lasting a mere 15 minutes, workers readied themselves to take it all back down again.
Whoever said fashion was fleeting?
Dior’s pure lines
Raf Simons took a fresh and naturalistic approach for Dior’s spring-summer looks: clothes that were as light as the scents wafting from the flower-filled decor.
As ever, for “cerebral” Simons, the references were encyclopedic.
This season’s muse was Victorian-style underwear: high-waisted knickers, in white cotton with a circular trim.
They were worn under loose, sheer organza dresses or underneath Dior’s famed “bar jacket” that was taken from the 1949 archive and given a graphic, menswear twist. Simons is, after all, a master of gender-bending. The delicate men’s tailoring continued in some three-piece suits with delicate horizontal pinstripes and military jackets.
There were some wonderful contradictions and contrasts that displayed the deceptive simplicity of the Dior designs.
Historical turn-of-the-century sleeves – gathered, voluminous and normally destined for heavy fabrics – were given a diaphanous make-over in weightless, transparent pink striped silk organza, above Victorian lingerie.
It proves the talent of Simons: rich in his referencing, but light in execution.
Issey Miyake’s baked tropics
It was a raw, tropical summer at Issey Miyake.
The house of the fiber technology treated guests another journey around fashion science by using ultra-thin paper thread made from plant-fibers to produce tropical-looking T-shirts.
Primitive fringing adorned layered skirts with woven fibrous textures in checks of pinks, blues and black. They evoked a Hawaiian hula or grass skirt, a vibe that was repeated in floppy, fringed or cone hats worn by some of the models.
The pleating was the strongest part of designer Yoshiyuke Miyamae’s show, and the techniques behind it equally fascinating. Swirling pleats in vivid blue, purple and green created sometimes sumptuous moving, bouncing trapeze and oval silhouettes.
It was achieved from a new process called “Baked Stretch” – which involved glue being printed on the fabric and then baked to expand under the high temperature and mould itself.
“Just like baking bread,” said the program notes.
The French government is supporting an initiative to promote alternative standards of beauty in an industry that promotes being tall and thin.
The Culture Ministry hosted an entire dwarf fashion show on Friday evening off the normal Paris Fashion Week calendar.
Fifteen women dwarves all measuring under 4 feet 4 inches – trod the boards proudly in the latest colorful spring-summer fashions, designed by a team of designers for the show.
Organizers accuse the French fashion industry of “discriminatory diktats” that exclude short people from being considered beautiful.
Isabel Marrant’s arabesque
Ethnic styles from North Africa and Anatolia were in vogue for Isabel Marrant, who fused them with contemporary fabrics and sportswear with funky results.
A long, men’s embroidered Berber coat cut an androgynous silhouette with black tasseled pants and desert sandals.
The same coat silhouette was later rendered in silver sheen and twinned with ultra-feminine black ‘60s pants and a delicate white polo worthy of Brigitte Bardot.
Harem pants appeared first as serious, and then with a neat contemporary twist – in white, as truncated sports pants. And a contemporary dropped-waist jumpsuit in pale yellow had tassels flying, a gold neck band and a loose pendant. It was a fresh take on the ever-lingering ethnic runway trends.