AP Fashion Writer
PARIS (AP) -- After turning up at Balmain's show after everyone had left, Barbadian superstar Rihanna arrived this time at Friday's Christian Dior show before hardly anyone had arrived.
Though the 26-year-old clearly doesn't lack staff -- with aggressive bodyguards around her -- if "fashionably early" doesn't catch on, perhaps she could do with a better time-keeper.
Also at the eventful Dior show, France's former first lady Valerie Trierweiler, an ex-partner of President Francois Hollande, made a rare appearance. It was, by coincidence, on the exact same day as her former love rival Julie Gayet made her first public appearance since this secret tryst with the president that rocked the whole of France.
Here are the highlights of Friday's colorful Paris fall-winter ready-to-wear shows.
RIHANNA IS FASHIONABLY EARLY
Photographers swarmed around the "Diamonds" singer inside Paris' Musee Rodin in front of row upon row of empty Dior seating.
"I just love fashion," she told The Associated Press as she posed in shades and a bright fur Dior wrap jacket that revealed ample bosom to flashes of camera.
If the singer, who hopes to launch a designing career and is touring Paris Fashion Week, was aiming to create the new concept of "fashionably early," good luck to her. Celebrities are normally expected to enter at the very last minute for fashion shows, for maximum effect.
CHRISTIAN DIOR'S CITY LIGHTS
Raf Simons produced a surprising show for Christian Dior. In several ways.
Firstly, the jacketed-businesswoman theme was a dramatic departure from his last -- and very successful -- ode to diaphanous couture.
Second, the near-sacred codes of Dior -- softly feminine gowns, sculpting bar jackets -- seemed almost gone with Simons' masculine tailoring style.
The show, entitled "City Lights," which began with long menswear cashmere coats, did feature some nice suits -- although they weren't particularly ground-breaking.
Simons' androgynous thinking had a lot more success in a series of wool gowns in fuscia, bright yellow and blue that had double layers and V-shapes mirroring the two tiers of an office suit.
But even those could have done without distracting embroidering that seemed like an afterthought to please the Dior clientele.
Certainly the best part of the show was when he let the Dior girl do the talking: in a great set of asymmetrical and trapeze nylon dresses that blossomed in quilted pleats.
Dior girls don't want to go to the office. They want to have fun!
CRITIC WHO ATTENDED DIOR'S FIRST YSL SHOW REMINISCES
In 1958, after Monsieur Dior died in unexpected circumstances, his protégé -- a 21-year-old unknown called Yves Saint Laurent was chosen to fill his shoes and presented his first collection.
It was a historic show, launching Saint Laurent into the fashion stratosphere, but one that came before the time of most people who attend Dior shows these days.
Apart from one: veteran fashion critic Marylou Luther, who spoke to the AP.
"In 1958 I was working for the Chicago Tribune and I covered the first collection after the death of Dior," said octogenarian Luther, with her signature round black spectacles.
"He went to the avenue Marceau headquarters, stood on the balcony and there were thousands -- I'm not exaggerating -- thousands of people. The word had gone out. This was maybe an hour after the show. And a throng of people waiting for him to come out and wave," she added.
Luther says that although 55 years have passed, the current Dior collections still have traces of the heritage: "You still see signs of the Bar Jacket, and the New Look."
EX-FRENCH FIRST LADY MAKES RARE APPEARANCE THE SAME DAY AS FORMER PRESIDENTIAL LOVE RIVAL
Friday was the day for facing crowds, despite a scandal.
The ex-partner French President Francois Hollande Valerie Trierweiler made a rare appearance at Christian Dior -- smiling in a black coat and shades -- the exact same day as actress Julie Gayet appeared at the Cesar awards in her first public appearance since the scandal of her alleged affair with the president broke earlier this year.
Gayet showed up at the ceremony though she had been widely expected to stay away, despite her nomination for best supporting actress for her role in "Quai d'Orsay," playing a seductive aide at the French Foreign Ministry.
SMELLS LIKE TREE SPIRIT
Issey Miyake used circular pleating -- inspired by tree rings -- to produce one of the most beautiful and unpretentious shows so far in Paris Fashion Week.
And that was aside from the show's great theatricality: opening with an electronic rock band and models who trod the catwalk in plain black outfits armed with tree-width circular panels.