By THOMAS ADAMSON, AP Fashion Editor
PARIS (AP) — From the dizzying heights of the Center Pompidou to the lofty halls of the Musée d’Orsay, Parisian fashion houses showcased the city’s most monumental art museums on Monday as they neared the finish line ready-to-wear collections.
Guests watched vibrant fall-winter styles weave through marble sculptures, edgy installations and Oscar-winning celebrities on the penultimate day of the season.
Not only was Stella McCartney one of the first brands to stage a show atop France’s National Museum of Modern Art, but the collection itself was inspired by a contemporary artist.
Louis Vuitton, meanwhile, lured the stars – including actors Emma Stone, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Connelly and Alicia Vikander – to designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s study of teenage experimentation.
Here are some highlights:
Stella McCartney leaned into a 70s aesthetic with pizzazz for fall-winter using a namesake – American artist Frank Stella, known for his geometric patterns – as a creative springboard.
A striped cream and brown faux fur coat resembling a dressing gown — and channeling artist Stella’s linear patterns — introduced a retro tone from the get-go. It was a rare foray for the normally sporty and contemporary marque, but one that was happily handled. This first look sported giant shoulders and tube arms, while her large flap belt looked almost ready to sensually open up the coat.
Rounded shoulders and large labels – key ’70s details – adorned more understated McCartney styles, appearing in one case on a generously proportioned long dark coat that evoked the geometric lines of 85-year-old Stella, who had to sign all the looks of the catwalks.
McCartney said the process was “really funny because Frank is really in a bad mood and we love him for it.”
Fabric experimentations were also noteworthy, including a shiny material (“no latex, no leather”) that appeared on a series of fabulous ’70s dresses with shoulder drapes that moved weightlessly. The editors naturally asked the designer what the material was.
“It was made by coating the fabric. I don’t think you can ever get that kind of movement out of real leather, but faux leather. I was really excited when I found this fabric because it responded so well to color,” McCartney said.
A message of protest against the war in Ukraine exploded around the Center Pompidou. This was a recording of President John F. Kennedy’s iconic speech “A Strategy for Peace” delivered at the American University in Washington DC in 1963.
“We don’t want war,” he repeated, prompting McCartney’s front row guests to discuss the terrible geopolitical events. The show also ended with a song by former Paul McCartney bandmate John Lennon: “Give Peace a Chance.”
“I wanted everyone to know that here at Stella we are anti-war,” Stella told AP after the show. “We feel immense sadness at what the Ukrainian people are going through.”
McCartney said she wanted to resolve the conflict because continuing with the fashion razzmatazz seems “a very strange thing to do under the circumstances. So we wanted to make a statement against the war and against what happened.
The fashion show was dedicated to those affected by the conflict, while Stella McCartney made a donation to CARE, an organization providing emergency crisis aid to 4 million Ukrainians.
“It doesn’t take a genius to understand what we are all witnessing in the world,” she added.
MINNIE MOUSE RETURNS STELLA MAKEOVER
One of the celebrities on the Center Pompidou show who certainly didn’t do interviews was Minnie Mouse. Disney’s adorable rodent made a rare appearance, posing with guests with Notre Dame Cathedral visible in the distance, to show off her new fashion look designed by Stella McCartney.
Gone were the famous white bloomers created in 1928. In their place was a shiny navy tuxedo pantsuit created to celebrate empowerment and Women’s History Month.
“Minnie Mouse has been crafted with responsible materials – offering a fresh take on her iconic polka dots and dressing her up to be a symbol of empowerment for a new generation,” the house said.
The pantsuit will be worn by Minnie at special Disney events.
THE LOUIS VUITTON DRESSING SET
It was the wilderness of adolescence that inspired Louis Vuitton’s Monday show – a vibrant ode to romance, or the fleeting moments of youth when character is forged for life.
Discordant, gritty and vibrant looks cut into fun and unexpected styles. At times, it looked like the model had grabbed everything she had in her mom and dad’s closet — new, vintage — and put them together to create ensembles with odd, often oversized, A-line silhouettes.
If it all sounds scruffy, it wasn’t – thanks to creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere’s deft style and eye for balancing shapes and bold colors. There was also more than a dose of humor and surrealism in the display of 48 people.
In a series of preppy looks, an oversized yellow patterned tie intentionally clashed with puffy gray wool high-waisted trousers. Further, Ghesquière got creative with a theatrical golden apron style that had fringed cascading sections that evoked both a scarf and an Elizabethan skirt. Below, to complete the contradictions, a gray schoolgirl skirt and colorful leather sneakers.
As for the silhouette, Fall introduced a broad, flattened underbelly – which popped out dramatically on either side, in pockets or whooss of fabric.
Louis Vuitton, of the LVMH group, took the opportunity to reveal that it has sealed a new long-term partnership with the Musée d’Orsay, which holds the world’s largest collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. Louis Vuitton will use its formidable coffers to promote the museum and its associated art collections – which span from 1848 to 1914 and dovetail with the birth of Louis Vuitton, originally a trunk maker, in the 19th century.
The fall-winter event marked the first time in history that the museum and the old station hosted a fashion show. Speaking of the partnership, Ghesquiere said it “resonates with me in so many ways. It’s a museum built on innovation over time, whether through its iconic clock; once radical technology, like photography paintings by modern masters, and its unique place in Paris as one of the most iconic cultural destinations.
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI IS THE FABULOUS LEOPARD
Another creator, another art museum. This time, it was the turn of the talented Giambattista Valli, who presented his sixties-inspired winter items at the Museum of Modern Art.
The main creative flagship was a brilliant interpretation of prints. Valli stretched a leopard print — as if it had literally been lying on a printer — by putting it over an exaggeratedly long peacoat that looked like it had been stretched.
On another look, this stretched leopard print appeared flat on a mini dress like straight-to-machine printed paper. And again in a look with a black bar across the bust area – in a humorous nod to censorship.
The collection also featured historical reflections, such as the leopard print that pollinated dropped Elizabethan-style cuffs that cut a chic style contradiction with a 60s miniskirt.
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