AP PHOTOS: Paris Fashion Week returns after virus hiatus

Women in sunglasses and body-hugging designs sashayed down a sleek, black runway beneath an Eiffel Tower glowing orange in the night.

Wisps of fringe swished from the hem of a lemon-yellow creation, its model clutching a shiny handbag adorned with safety pins.

The eyes of the couture world were fixed even more than usual on France’s always-chic capital in recent days, as designers showed off their latest work for Paris Fashion Week after going mostly virtual for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While most of this season’s 97 shows remained online as the country recovers from another wave of COVID-19 infections in the summer, about a third did opt for a physical return to the runway, including industry heavyweights from Chanel and Hermes to Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.

They chose an eclectic collection of iconic backdrops — alongside the Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral and serene Seine River; the tree-lined 16th-century Tuileries Garden in central Paris; the glassy, bulbous orb of La Seine Musicale concert complex. After one show in the fashionable Le Marais district, models strutted into the streets outside to enthusiastic cheers from surprised bystanders.

On hand were thousands of camera-happy onlookers as well as New York fashion editors newly able to cross the Atlantic after pandemic travel restrictions between Europe and the United States were relaxed.

The event also wasn’t lacking for star power, with the likes of Gillian Anderson, Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Catherine Deneuve, Roger Federer, Giveon, Vanessa Kirby, Demi Moore and Rosamund Pike making appearances.

French first lady Brigitte Macron joined top officials one evening at the Hotel des Invalides for the showing of a new collection by Italian designer Fabio Porlod featuring female amputees and women who have been injured. The Defense Ministry called the initiative “part of a charity evening whose funds raised will improve the living environment of seriously wounded war victims, victims of attacks and people hospitalized at the National Institution of Invalides.”

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