Elie Saab banishes gray skies, channels ’70s in Paris

PARIS (AP) — Elie Saab and Vivienne Westwood were among designers featured at Paris Fashion Week Saturday, with organizers on heightened alert as French yellow vests protesters mobilized in Paris for a 16th straight weekend. Marches are planned not far from show venues near the Arc de Triomphe.

Some highlights of the fall and winter ready-to-wear shows:

A RELATIVELY QUIET SATURDAY
Many guests invited to the Elie Saab show were held up by snaking traffic caused by the yellow vest demonstrations in Paris. But the display, held a short distance from the Arc de Triomphe at the exclusive Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, started on time and without incident.

Paris’ Fashion Federation has held top level meetings with police to assess the threat of any potential disruption to shows, especially because luxury Parisian boutiques were smashed in previous marches. No major incident has yet occurred.

Some guests gasped as shouts erupted on the street ahead of the show — but the fracas, it transpired, came from excited fans of VIP attendees who included American socialite Olivia Palermo.

This is the second time Paris Fashion Week has coincided with the protests. Activists argue the French political system is stacked in favor of the elite and big businesses.


ELIE SAAB’S 70s
An infectious, retro soundtrack had fashion editors smiling as their tapped their feet at Elie Saab’s fun collection that channeled this season’s top trend: The ’70s.

Bright lighting banished any gray mood caused by the French capital’s overcast weather and angry demonstrations.

It illuminated a typically-feminine array of color-rich gowns.
Charlie’s Angels-style jabot collars and high necks led the eye down to tight-fitting gowns with floppy ruffles across the bust or down the side. Later, sparkly disco gowns dazzled.

Thigh-high leather boots — another big Paris trend — were delivered in eye-popping colors such as vivid blue, carmine red and cadmium green. They matched the hues of the gowns in a “total look” effect.

The collection, the house said, was filled with “a little bit of romance and a whole lot of love.” That mantra translated as an overly busy heart print on skirts and gowns that diverged from the retro musing and fared less well.


VIVIENNE WESTWOOD’S CONTRADICTIONS
Silken sea-green blazers, corseted gowns, patchwork jeans with zippers in random locations and pants in dalmatian print: That was just the front row.

As a true “identity brand,” Vivienne Westwood’s shows typically attract guests dressed as vibrantly as the runway models.

On the catwalk, designer Andreas Kronthaler put out a highly accomplished collection of ensembles defined by anachronism and contradiction.

Punk wigs mixed with loose medieval-style gowns, historic gathered skirts, sneakers, red leggings and check pants. Punk was a key touchstone of Westwood, Kronthaler’s wife and design partner, from whom he took over some years ago.

Contrasts in material, color and pattern were key to the typically eclectic style formula.

One look married 80s disco queen with a Medici princess, with a pastel silver lame gown descending over a pant-skirt ensemble in dark sienna that curved round in a Renaissance style.


LVMH PRIZE
Shortlisted designers from 15 countries have gathered at the headquarters of luxury goods giant LVMH for the annual LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, launched in 2014.

The conglomerate’s CEO, Bernard Arnault, is Europe’s richest man. His company has made a point of using its resources and influence to support upcoming artists and designers from all over the world.
The panel of judges includes models Naomi Campbell and Natalia Vodianova.

On Friday evening, this year’s shortlisted designers gathered in Paris at the invitation of Arnault’s daughter, Delphine Arnault.

They included Anrealage by Tokyo-based designer Kunihiko Morinaga, and Bode’s American designer Emily Adams Bode. The winner, who will receive a 300,000-euro grant, will be announced in June.

By Associated Press