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Balletcore, dunes and vamps at Paris couture week |

Fashion and Beauty

Balletcore, dunes and vamps at Paris couture week

Agence France-Presse - Agence France-Presse
Balletcore, dunes and vamps at Paris couture week
A model during haute couture week in Paris
AFP / Thomas Samson

PARIS, France — Haute couture week in Paris showcases the fashion world's most elite outfits — one-off, made-to-measure creations that the labels hope will adorn red carpets and high society events around the world.

Here are some of the highlights from four days of shows in the French capital.


Ballet is hot right now.

Andie MacDowell's daughter, actress Margaret Qualley, in a neck ruff and white tights, was the catwalk star as Chanel marked 100 years since founder Gabrielle Chanel first dressed the Russian Ballet in Paris.

It came just a few days after Dior paid homage to ballet icon Rudolf Nureyev during the menswear week, and Chanel offered the ultra-chi-chi women's version, with lots of tutu skirts, translucent whites, leotards and dance pumps.

Fendi, Dior fabrics

Fendi's show, graced by Zendaya and Reese Witherspoon, in the front row, was one of the more delicately fabulous.

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Shimmering, almost liquid, dresses in silk, sequin and mohair. Glasses that you wouldn't want to accidentally sit on, since they are made from 18-carat gold and white diamonds.

Designer Kim Jones said he was inspired by his predecessor Karl Lagerfeld's "futurism" but with "a humanism at the heart of this future."

Christian Dior, meanwhile, put on a varied show with everything from brown trenchcoats to white Grecian-goddess-style dresses and velvet pantsuits.

But there was an impressive tribute to a classic from the Dior archive, the La Cigale dress of 1952, and the unique rippling effect of its moire fabric.

Eastern journeys

France's Stephane Rolland recreated the atmosphere of a Marrakesh garden, with women dressed like Middle Eastern princesses in beige, gold and blue, set against a background of desert dunes and a soundtrack by trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf.

Rolland said he was thinking about the collection before the Israel-Hamas war broke out in October and had decided to stick with it in order to promote "tolerance and positivity."

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Giorgio Armani plucked ideas from all over the world to take an audience including Gwyneth Paltrow and Glenn Close on an "imagined journey from West to East" that included decorative peacock motifs and kimono-style gowns.

Rahul Mishra latest evocation of his native India was inspired by insects, with huge glittering moths and bees adorning some outfits, and several turbans and maharajah outfits in the collection.

Theatrical Fournie

One of the most spectacular shows came from Julien Fournie, who sought to recreate the atmosphere of fashion's heyday, packing out a Paris theatre for a tribute to vamps and femmes fatales.

Cocked bowler hats and beige trench coats recalled film noir classics and cabaret, alongside dizzying stiletto heels that tested the balance of the models as they put on much more of a show than the usual up-and-back catwalk strut.

Model Michaela Tomanova, seven months pregnant, stood out in a black gala dress made from a harness, while Fournie paid tribute to landmark styles over the past century, from suits to pencil skirts and big shoulders, all with modern twists.

"With this collection I wanted to return the joy, fantasy and lightness that we miss so much today," said Fournie, who joined the models on stage for an ecstatic finale in their arms.

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