- Associated Press - Thursday, September 27, 2012

PARIS (AP) - Paris fashion has no boundaries and no borders.

Thursday’s cultural melting pot of spring-summer 2013 shows was proof enough.

Curious designers, thirsty for new inspiration, ventured across the globe to bring new ideas and exotic cultures back to the catwalk.

Manish Arora traveled to northwestern India’s Rajasthan to bring Paris a vibrant infusion of traditional Indian dress and lavish regal jewelry.

Balmain’s creative nomad Olivier Rousteing, meanwhile, replaced last season’s muse _ the Russian Empire’s Faberge Egg _ to travel to the artisanal wicker-weavers of Cuba to give his summer collection a unique panache with its hints of in-vogue black.

Barbara Bui, who also opened with black, joined the expedition with geometric American Indian prints and tribal-looking dresses and foulards.

Taking another tack, Nina Ricci, forever a romantic Parisian gamine, traveled decades back in time to produce a nostalgic show with a modern twist.

Friday’s collections include Roland Mouret and Issey Miyake, as well as the debut ready-to-wear show for new Christian Dior designer Raf Simons.


To welcome in next spring, some designers in Paris have said it with flowers. Balmain said it with wicker.

Never one to travel with the crowd, 27-year-old designer Olivier Rousteing used artisanal Cuban wicker-weaving as a vehicle for his signature graphic silhouettes.

Rousteing _ who on Thursday completed a full year at the helm of the iconic French fashion house _ possesses a roving eye for cultural artifacts. Strong shouldered, highly structured looks came with cropped tops, lashings of jewel and slices of torso at his Paris Fashion Week show.

Yet the high point was the wicker-embellished cropped jackets that growled like a fierce, feminine exoskeleton.

Rousteing’s 3-D woven straw evoked a baroque mood, a feeling that was echoed by lavish diamond checkerboard patterns _ a replica of the polished marble flooring of the Versailles Palace.

No doubt Rousteing will pass his annual job review.

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