PARIS (AP) - High fashion equals high drama, the latest installment of Paris Fashion Week proved Monday.
A hooded Rihanna tried her best to pass unnoticed at the Stella McCartney show but caused yet more mayhem. Meanwhile, the world’s most influential fashion critic, Suzy Menkes, announced she’s ditching newspapers after a quarter of a century, though she denied there’s an end in sight for the print industry.
Elsewhere, Swinging Sixties icon Marianne Faithfull lambasted a reporter after getting squashed at a fashion show.
Here are some highlights from the fall-winter ready-to-wear collections.
RIHANNA NOT INCOGNITO AT STELLA MCCARTNEY
Try as she might to be discreet - enveloped in a green-black Stella McCartney hooded coat with huge cat eye shades - Rihanna just had no luck. Within seconds of her arrival Monday, her star-power magnetism drew in the paparazzi, who followed her backstage where she hobnobbed with British model of the moment Cara Delevigne.
A radiant McCartney, meanwhile, hugged the pop star and exclaimed: “She is amazing.”
STELLA HAS FUN WITH ZIPPERS, STIRRUPS, ROPE
McCartney’s show brimmed with ideas and plays on utilitarian features.
Zippers featured as abstract embroidery all over coats and suits that glistened like ripples of water. This sporty theme - a McCartney signature - was seen again as mountaineering cords were used as embroidered motifs on storm gray tweeds.
Menswear pants sported stirrups - elastic bands wrapped under platform shoes - hybrids of an office shoe mixed with a sneaker in red, black, beige, gold and a beautiful pale blue.
Apart from a spattering of tie-dye looks that appeared a bit washed out, it was a great collection.
Only such a classy designer as McCartney can channel a sporty, outdoorsy and menswear muse and still produce a feminine show.
END OF AN ERA AS SUZY MENKES QUITS NEWSPAPERS
She’s the doyenne of fashion, with the instantly recognizable curled fringe. And now newspaper critic Suzy Menkes, 70, is ending her 25-year reign as fashion editor for the International Herald Tribune (now the International New York Times).
“I’m going to Conde Nast,” she told The Associated Press, saying she’s excited to move on from papers. “I’m especially thrilled to be online because with newspapers, you know… But I’ve had a wonderful career in print,” she added.
When asked if she thought that the time was up for newspapers, which have experienced a steady decline in sales worldwide with the rise of online news, she replied: “No, of course not!”
Menkes’ new post will be International Editor for Vogue magazine, across all countries except the U.S.
MARIANNE FAITHFULL BLASTS REPORTER
After being squashed on the front row as journalists tried to get near Rihanna, Seventies British singing icon Marianne Faithfull got annoyed. She blasted a reporter for asking the “Diamonds” singer, sitting four seats down, a question about “12 Years a Slave” winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
Faithfull, 66, who first found fame as Mick Jagger’s girlfriend in the 60s, attended the Paris show to support longtime friend McCartney.
She overheard the Oscars question for Rihanna and interrupted grumpily: “That’s a ridiculous question… Get a new job!”
To which the journalist replied: “What’s your job?”
(Rihanna completely ignored both parties.)
SAME OLD SLIMANE AT SAINT LAURENT BUT WITH SPARKLES, 60s
Designer Hedi Slimane continued with his 70s feel for fall-winter but upped the disco sequins and added a dash of the 60s for good effect. (A little like his Las Vegas menswear show, but less successful.)
Was it the anticipation of sixties wild child Marianne Faithfull on the front row that pushed him to fuse his signature designs with swinging minis, Mary Quant-style black and white striped patent leather boots, neat white neck bows, and polka dots?
There were the hits and misses.
The misses were the heavy handed looks: the huge black fur coat with giant white polka dots that didn’t make much of a creative statement; or the rather ordinary navy coats; and one wacky look that mixed a Scottish tartan cape, a gold-red patterned mini-dress with a wide rimmed black hat.
But the hits included looks with some interesting creative touches: prickly, studded, knee-high boots, a micro leopard-print dress with a gray marl menswear jacket, and a saleable warm beige fur cardigan with “Le Smoking”-style shoulders. It was luxury-meets-East London.
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI PERFUMES THE AIR, NOT THE CLOTHES
Sweet rose perfume wafted through the air.
But Giambattista Valli’s fall-winter show itself turned away from the saccharine, feminine styles that have graced recent seasons - and the collection was all the better for it.
The first looks were the strongest, a series of complex black-and-white mottled gowns with A-line skirts. They showcased great textural play with optical patterns that at times resembled the markings of a butterfly, alongside exaggerated proportions. (The butterfly effect is an on-trend style also seen at the Celine and Chloe shows.)
The show’s flower prints weren’t that new or inspiring, but Valli perfected a beautiful new silhouette of open fabric swirls at the hip.
ELIE SAAB GOES DARK AFTER ANGELINA JOLIE COUP
After the red carpet coup of dressing Angelina Jolie for the Academy Awards in a gray embellished couture tulle gown, Lebanese designer Elie Saab should have been in high spirits.
However his fall-winter show sported a dark mood, in colors at least.
Rich dark merlot and emerald came along slim cinched-waisted gowns, sometimes in a vintage-looking degrade and other times in business suits.
The staple, frothily-effervescent light silks were replaced by their darker, sexier sister in black, with small flashes of color provided by flower prints. The designer packs no surprises but remains hugely popular.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP
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