PARIS—Solange Knowles was among the fashion, film and music industry stars out for British designer Clare Waight Keller’s swansong at Chloe at Paris Fashion Week. The event came hours after Lauryn Hill gave a surprise performance at Kenzo.
But politics was also in the air in Thursday’s busy fall-winter preview shows, as France’s culture minister said the rise of the nationalism could threaten Paris’ multicultural fashion industry.
Here are some highlights from Thursday.
CHLOE DESIGNER BIDS FAREWELL
The final chapter in Clare Waight Keller’s reign strayed not too far from the hippy-chic ’70s DNA that’s now synonymous with the Chloe house.
It was a play-it-safe moment to cap six years at the helm of one of Paris’ most iconic fashion houses.
Diaphanous jabot collars, fluttery layers of cascading chiffon, oversize retro fur coats and exaggeratedly billowing slung pants all presented loose silhouettes.
The ’70s penchant for colour was also clearly referenced in the 43-piece collection’s use of prints and lashings of icy pastel hues — shades of mint, peach and lilac that merged into earthy tones.
But, at times the garments — though executed to perfection — seemed to lack a little soul. Perhaps the house is ready for a change.
SOLANGE JOINS STARRY FRONT ROW
A fresh-looking Solange Knowles jetted in to the City of Light to catch Waight Keller’s final ready-to-wear show after six years at Chloe.
“I’m in Paris for one day only. I’m very excited to be here, as it’s her last show,” the American singer told The Associated Press in the bright, lofty salon inside Paris’ Grand Palais.
Knowles stunned in a diaphanous, sheer white Chloe gown with embroidered motifs and high neckline. No jet lag here. “I feel super ethereal and comfy and cozy,” she added.
Her front row neighbour — 26-year-old “American Horror Story” star Emma Roberts — cut a sharp style contrast in chic ’70s-style oversized kooky shades and flower power pant suit. She chatted with fellow attendee Isabelle Huppert, the Oscar-nominated French actress, who hid behind a pair of shades.
“Game of Thrones” star Gwendoline Christine and fellow Briton, singer Marianne Faithful, also attended.
CHLOE IS PART OF FRENCH IDENTITY
The presence of France’s culture minister at the Chloe show was a sign at how cherished the Parisian house founded in 1952 by Mademoiselle Gaby Aghion is to French national identity.
The house is actually credited with inventing the concept of ready-to-wear.
“Clare was the longest-serving designer there since Karl Lagerfeld, so this is an important moment,” said Minister Audrey Azoulay, who adding that she was eager to learn the name of Chloe’s next designer.
Names reportedly being considered include Natacha Ramsay Levi, a womenswear designer at Louis Vuitton.
CULTURE MINISTER: ULTRA-NATIONALISM WILL THREATEN FASHION
France’s culture minister says a rise in nationalism in France will negatively impact the prized French fashion industry that relies strongly on foreign talent.
Minister Audrey Azoulay told The Associated Press outside the Chloe show in Paris that a “populist power” like the far-right National Front party that wants France to leave the 28-nation EU would be “absolutely incompatible with the idea of fashion and freedom.”
Azoulay, who said she was fearful, added “a lot of our great fashion designers come from elsewhere.”
National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who’s leading in polls for France’s two-part April-May presidential election, has campaigned against immigration and in favour of a French exit.
Each season, hundreds of fashion industry workers with EU passports travel to Paris without visas because of the EU freedom of movement rules.
LAURYN HILL PERFORMS AT KENZO
Kenzo’s guests were treated to a surprise performance by multi-Grammy Award-winning hip hop star Lauryn Hill late Wednesday.
The dinner/fashion show transformed itself into an impromptu concert when Hill strutted out in a drop-waist pink taffeta dress from the New Line, Kenzo “Memento No. 1.”
House founder Kenzo Takada was among guests tapping to the rousing hits including “Doo-Wop (That Thing),” “Killing Me Softly” and “Everything is Everything.”
The 41-year-old singer raised the roof with her energetic performance.