Forget the clothes. Paris Fashion Week was nearly hijacked by a couple of platinum blondes on Thursday, as the freshly dyed locks of Kim Kardashian and Jared Leto stole the spotlight when they attended the Balmain and Lanvin fashion shows.
At Lanvin, Kardashian and husband Kanye West made their entrance from the top of the runway, walking to their seats with a hive of cameras buzzing in front of them, in an orchestrated moment of celebrity worship that was truly over-the-top. No matter how chic Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz’s leather harness gowns, fringe wrap skirts, print peasant dresses, bushy shearling coats and madcap hats looked on the runway, it was hard to take them seriously in such a tabloid setting.
A paparazzi scene at Balmain, I understand. Today, that brand is about rock star clothes. But at Lanvin? Elbaz reinvented the label in the early 2000s with a thoughtful approach to design and a personal touch that translated into fraying lace edges, grosgrain and pearl trim, sculpted bows and rosettes that made a woman feel like he’d designed them especially for her. Guess he’s gone Hollywood now.
But for all the celebrity sightings and front-row hoopla, it was the Rick Owens show, held in an underground bunker below the Palais de Tokyo, that was the most memorable from the first few days of Paris Fashion Week.
There was no full frontal nudity in the women’s counterpart to his now infamous men’s “Sphinx” collection shown in Paris in January. But there was amazing looking gold leaf makeup daubed on models’ faces, highlighting the Mayan inspiration mentioned in the show notes, specifically Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival style Hollyhock House in Los Angeles, as well as Owens’ own Mayan heritage on his mother’s side.
The collection was stunning from start to finish, architectural and sensually draped. Every model was swathed and swaddled to perfection. Shifts resembled windblown forms, with jutting hips, winged collars or swirled necklines. Tunics were traced with geometric patches of fur, felt or sequins. And back-fastened shells trailed cascading fabric.
Anchored by flat gladiator sandals, the clothes had a ceremony that was ancient and futuristic, fierce and calm, dressed up and uncomplicated.
It was hard to put a label on, and it didn’t need a celebrity front row co-branding op. That can only mean one thing: true creativity.
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PHOTOS FROM PARIS FASHION WEEK: