PARIS (AP) — Fashion is the playground for the rich and famous.
But Tuesday saw Giorgio Armani outdo even this old maxim in his celebrity-circus of a couture show. On the front row, a shimmying Kate Hudson mingled with Jared Leto, Sophia Loren pouted sultrily, Pink tapped her foot and Juliette Binoche caught up with fellow actress Chloe Grace Moretz.
Ushers even had to link arms in a human wall when the show ended to protect the myriad stars from the masses and deliver them to the safety of backstage.
It’s not often that Karl Lagerfeld is outdone in the Hollywood stakes — but his front-row shows that he’s focusing his attention on couture-hungry Asia.
Here are the highlights from Day 3 of the haute couture fall-winter 2014-15 collections, with show reports for Giorgio Armani Prive, Chanel, Stephane Rolland and Bouchra Jarrar.
ARMANI PRIVE PLAYS WITH DOTS
Overlays through a palette of red, white and black defined Armani’s fall-winter aesthetic.
And the result was a rare intellectual show from the Italian master of safe classicism.
Quilted-effect ruffled capes mixed with (rather unseasonal) shorts alongside curved-shouldered pant suits with exaggerated tubular sleeves.
This began a play in proportion. Armani segmented the clothes, producing jacket sleeves that went high and appeared separate from the torso. This silhouette then fluffed out into some voluminous net clouds dresses fit for Lady Gaga.
But the crescendo came at the end, in overlays of polka dots, chenille embroidery and billowing tulle veils that played cleverly with differing depths.
Models with black tulle dresses sported meters of netted veil, pockmarked with red dots — creating the illusion of a galactic constellation of varying density.
The body became blurred as the dress took over.
Giorgio Armani is proving quite the Paris couture hot-ticket.
One Japanese fashionista who had badly sprained her ankle made the show thanks only to her resourcefulness: She was seen with her foot bandaged with an astronomically-priced Hermes silk scarf.
CHANEL’S BAROQUE MIRROR ON THE WALL
“Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” seemed to be the message at Chanel’s icy-cold fall-winter show.
Models with glacial, spiky fringes walked slowly up to a gilded, baroque mirror beneath a burning fire showcasing 70 pale, often white, creations.
Glimmering baroque embroideries in silver and gold gave a wintry sparkle to the models, who seemed consumed by frosted vanity in an imaginary palace.
The palace in question, said Karl Lagerfeld, was Versailles.
And though the mirror on the wall conjured up images of Snow White, the designer said it was in fact based on reality: a design by famed French architect Le Corbusier, who mixed Baroque styles with Modernism.
“The show’s called ‘Le Corbusier goes to Versailles.’ I liked the idea of baroque elements and modern touches,” said Lagerfeld.
Embroideries that mirrored the square geometry of Modernism and the density of Le Corbusier’s concrete architecture mixed with ornate baroque patterns, strong shoulders, cycling shorts and flat sandals.
Unsurprisingly, the collection was hard to pin down and perhaps overly eclectic.
But there were some great sections, like the final series of clean white cone dresses in neoprene mixed the expansive volumes of 18th century crinoline with futuristic fabric.
LAGERFELD KNOWS WHICH SIDE HIS BREAD IS BUTTERED: ASIA
There’s been a growth of haute couture clients from Asia in recent years — credited with the craft’s recent renaissance.
For proof, look no further than the Chanel show’s front row.
It celebrated the world’s largest continent, lined left to right with myriad Asian celebrities and clients.
From Korea, singer CL and actress Ryeo-Won Jung. From Taiwan actress Gwei Lun-Mei. And from China, actress Zhou Xun.
Bewildered ushers held tightly onto cheat-sheets complete with the VIPs’ photos, out of fear they wouldn’t recognize a major Asian star.
And who says fashion doesn’t mirror global politics?
FASHION AS FILM
Fashion and cinema often go hand in hand.
“Great Gatsby” director Baz Luhrmann — whose films are famed for their burlesque use of costume — attended the Chanel show.
Tuesday also saw designer Stephane Rolland forgo a catwalk display in favor of a 10-minute “fashion film,” projected in a cinema to showcase his latest designs.
Rolland’s movie, in which a handsome suited man chases after an elusive fashion victim in myriad satin dresses and an occasionally exposed bust, was well put-together.
But some critics complained that they could neither get a sense of the collection as a whole nor properly see the clothes.
Fashion film is a new genre of movie making that follows from design houses making longer-length adverts for their products — like Nicole Kidman’s three-minute film for Chanel No. 5 perfume, or Charlize Theron’s “J’Adore” Dior perfume advert.
Several fashion film festivals have sprouted up in recent years, including American fashion blogger Diane Pernet’s ASVOFF festival and the Berlin Fashion Film Festival that takes place this month.
BOUCHRA JARRAR’S READY-TO-COUTURE
Lauded Moroccan-born designer Bouchra Jarrar’s show was unlike other couture show seen so far: The asymmetrical creations were ready to wear on the street.
Sporty loose striped gray-green pants and jackets helped make couture features such as atelier Lesage embroidery, billowing feathers and luxuriant satin silks wearable.
It’s a style you could call ready-to-couture.
The first zippered tweed jackets played interestingly with form — a sleeveless asymmetrical one in bespoke Aurora Borealis tweed had rounded long front panels of contrasting lengths, and was cut short at the back.
And there was a beautiful simplicity in a slim, bustier top that that was made entirely of ivory and black feathers.
Some may however lament the loss of her fluidly architectural, and more ostensibly couture, gowns.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP
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