- Associated Press - Thursday, July 10, 2014

PARIS (AP) - They’re fashion newcomers - but already have star clients like Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie, Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lopez.

Not bad for “up-and-coming” houses Ralph & Russo and Zuhair Murad - part of a new wave of business-minded couture designers - whose shows capped fall-winter 2014-15 shows Thursday.

Here are the highlights of the end of couture week, including why Kate Winslet defends aging, and why couture can be cruel to models.

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RALPH & RUSSO

They’ve certainly hit the ground running.

With the finesse of a heritage house, in only her second show, designer Tamara Ralph’s produced an archetypal couture display.

Gowns in duchess satin, silk gazar, crepe and chiffon sported hip-centric silhouettes - mostly sweeping the floor or cut to mid-calf.

The show played it safe with crystal embellishments which were nothing new or inventive - but the 36-piece collection still packed a creative punch.

There were a couple of 50s off-shoulder ball gowns in black and white gazar and tulle with stiff wire round the hem. It blew the ripples in the gowns’ skirt into giant abstract hoops.

Elsewhere, asymmetrical gowns in sumptuous black and white silk twill had opposing directions of movement - and produced a kinetic energy.

The outgoing French fashion federation president Didier Grumbach has said: “We expect savoir-faire, which is being lost, and Ralph & Russo have it.”

With clients like Jolie and Beyoncé, it’s clear Grumbach is not the only one who thinks so.

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HAUTE CRUELTY

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