By THOMAS ADAMSON, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — The Paris sun shone through the Grand Palais glass ceiling, past Chanel’s awe-struck celebrity guests, until it formed a rainbow on a 15-meter (50-foot) waterfall on the final day of Paris Fashion Week.
Showman designer Karl Lagerfeld outdid even himself this season, creating a lush indoor canyon replete with six spectacular waterfalls — all for his 20-minute show.
It vied for attention in Tuesday’s ready-to-wear collections with a stellar Louis Vuitton cast list that saw actresses Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander and Michelle Williams chatting together on the front row.
Some of the day’s highlights:
LAGERFELD GOES CHASING WATERFALLS
“It’s just incredible,” exclaimed movie director Baz Luhrmann as he breathed in the fresh, moist air from his Chanel front row.
He joined actress Monica Bellucci and supermodel Cindy Crawford at Lagerfeld’s latest spectacle, which paid homage to the Verdon Gorge, France’s answer to the Grand Canyon.
Artisans spent two months recreating a life-like replica of the French natural wonder located in Provence. The setting, with myriad mossy rocks and waving trees, left guests reaching for their cameras.
It was also a welcome moment of tranquility away from the nearby Champs-Elysees avenue’s urban bustle.
CHANEL HUES GO AQUATIC
The falling water of the show’s decor filtered into Chanel’s spring-summer styles as gentle aquatic tones, playful waterproof garments and beautiful interlocking layers that cascaded down models’ torsos.
Model-of-the-minute Kaia Gerber opened the show in a loose woven tweed jacket with strong ’80s shoulders in pale blue, paired with sheer PVC boots and a waterproof hat. Her mother Cindy Crawford watched from the front row.
Elsewhere, a hazy lacy outer layer on an oversize white chiffon blouse resembled a ripple of water.
Lagerfeld delicately captured the waterfall backdrop motif in the strongest of the collection’s 88 pieces: a shaggy soft pink sweater whose threads hung down onto a limp ruffled skirt evoking underwater flora.
LUHRMANN PRAISES THE OPERATIC LAGERFELD
“Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann, who sat close to a stunning rippling waterfall at Chanel, said Lagerfeld is much more than a fashion designer.
“I’ve always said if the day job doesn’t work out for Karl, he’d be the world’s greatest opera director. He does truly create opera,” said Luhrmann, who cut his cloth as an opera director before finding global renown with the breakout movie “Romeo and Juliet.”
Luhrmann said Lagerfeld’s Grand Palais displays — which have included a reconstructed Eiffel Tower, an imported forest, a space ship and a supermarket — stand out for his sense of “exalting and heightening the spirit.”
“The expectation of a Karl show is now: What next? How much bigger can it be?” he said.
LOUIS VUITTON’S LOUVRE PALACE SHOW
A royal setting spawned a regal show for Louis Vuitton.
Designer Nicolas Ghesquiere clearly had an eye on the history of Paris’ Louvre, the Louis Vuitton show venue, in producing his accomplished spring collection that capped Fashion Week.
Designs sparkled in gold, silver and pastel colors, mirroring the regal styles of the Bourbon King Louis XIV who moved the court from the Louvre to Versailles in the 1600s.
Injected in that, of course, were flashes of the contemporary — sneakers and elasticated shorts — giving the historic musing a stylish streetwise kick.
The Rococo, the epoch where fashions for embroideries reached their peak, was evoked in a silver-and-blue embroidered jacket that opened the show with its stiff period collar. An embroidered coat with square shoulders cut a fine silhouette in shimmering gold.
Elsewhere, a sleek black leather knee-length dress with a sports collar had a regal presence with a tight bodice and large ruffles in the skirt.
One historic-style dress sported a sweeping white flounce from the bust that descended into thick black leather ruffles. It seemed to defy gravity.
MIU MIU’S QUIRKY EMPIRE
Maggie Gyllenhaal donned an embellished red bustier, Naomi Harris a black mohair top with a crystal-embellished skirt.
Miu Miu’s stars sat by the acid yellow backdrop, as Miuccia Prada’s little sister brand presented its study in colorful contrast.
The house has turned quirky into a global empire, and Tuesday’s show was a case in point.
Opening the show, a masculine knitted retro tank top with taupe and Persian blue chevrons set the tone — paired with cropped pants and contrasting long salmon-colored stockings.
This collection tried its hardest to be unsexy. Bright yellow socks were worn under leather sandals — served up against an oversize tuxedo jacket.
The brand’s signature eccentric contrasts cropped up in the form of colorful check patterning and stylish floral embroideries on high-necked gowns.
MONCLER GAMME ROUGE
Disco met ballet at the sports-infused house of Moncler Gamme Rouge.
Italian designer Giambattista Valli put on his dancing shoes for Tuesday’s Paris Fashion Week spectacle in which ballerinas in sheer tulle knee-length skirts performing en pointe before enormous hanging disco balls.
The two styles cropped up in Valli’s contrast-rich collection, which mixed the spirit of the tulle tutu with the leotard and legwarmers of “Flashdance.” A white miniskirt constructed with feathers had a beautiful diaphanous feel that contrasted with a streetwise black sweater with tubular arms and gray knit knee-length legwarmers.
The collection also had a patriotic feel. Tuesday’s show saw Tricolor ribbons and an embroidered mini-dress with red, white and blue strips that mirrored the French flag.
VUITTON’S STAR-STUDDED SHOP OPENING
With great fanfare, Louis Vuitton hosted one of the biggest celebrity-filled soirees of the season Monday night to inaugurate its new store on the Place Vendome.
The glitzy cocktail party drew stars including Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Alicia Vikander, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Connelly, Lea Seydoux and Catherine Deneuve. They wandered, champagne in hand, around the sprawling multi-level store filled with clothing, jewelry, watches and perfumes as well as artisan workshops.
The luxury powerhouse staged the party to reflect the symbolic importance of the chic Place Vendome, where a young Louis Vuitton created his first-ever shop 160 years ago.
The celebration continued well into the night with performances by Will Smith and his son, Jaden Smith.
By THOMAS ADAMSON, Associated Press