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Rihanna, new top designers debut at Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week

New designer debuts from powerhouses Lanvin and Saint Laurent – and popstar Rihanna’s first Paris catwalk show for Fenty Puma – marked the start of Spring-Summer 2017 shows in the City of Light. Here are the highlights of ready-to-wear collections.

The most striking thing about Rihanna’s catwalk collection for Fenty Puma was the models. There has been increasing criticism in recent years that fashion shows in the major capitals have a dearth of models from different ethnic backgrounds. So the popstar’s latest outing for the sports brand garnered praise for its use of male and female models from diverse backgrounds.

The catwalk collection itself – Rihanna’s first in Paris – got a more lukewarm reception. Pearl necklaces, lace headdresses, sheer shawls, fabric fans and glimmering corsets took inspiration from 18th century France. But against the backdrop of the venue, the grand 18th century Hotel Salomon de Rothschild, they came across as somewhat saccharine. Loose pastel-colored silhouettes that floated seemed at times overly embellished, and there was a cluttered feel to some of the layering and gathered detailing that moved in convergent directions. Still, there were some nice styles – such a coat or a silken jumpsuit that unraveled at the shoulder that captured the feeling of hurried undress.

“I am really excited about this collection as it’s very fun and light,” Rihanna said. “Showing in Paris was the perfect backdrop, as I pulled a lot of inspiration from France, Marie Antoinette and the Palace of Versailles specifically,” she added.

Dries van noten goes oriental, victorian
Master of contradictions Dries Van Noten went to the Orient for inspiration for his vivid Spring-Summer collection. A silken Japanese kimono coat with large lapels in midnight blue, worn by an Asian model, appeared alongside a modernized version of the raised Japanese “Geta” sandal. Vivid floral prints – with standout acid yellow – also peppered the color-rich show and reminded the audience of the Belgian designer’s unrelenting passion for blooms, which he tenderly cultivates in his garden at home.

But to pin the ever-creative 58-year-old down would be an impossible exercise as Wednesday’s diverse show proved. He mixed up his Oriental musings – of course – with flashes of the vestimentary styles of Victorian England. Voluminous 19th century leg of mutton sleeves were fused with matronly high neck details in Victorian lace, as well as beading and needlework from that period. Successfully combining the two diverse references is a feat that few designers could pull off.But here, it worked.-AP

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