PARIS (AP) — Friday's Paris fashion shows seemed less about who attended — like F1 racer Lewis Hamilton at Givenchy or singer Bryan Ferry at Berluti — as who did not attend.
John Galliano, fashion's former persona non-grata, was notably absent from the menswear collection at Maison Margiela where he has now staged a comeback as creative director.
Fashion insiders shrugged in confusion at this missed opportunity for the 54-year-old to stamp his mark on the men's line, after a highly publicized couture presentation in London earlier this month.
Others, however, said it felt still too soon for the ex-Dior designer to appear again in Paris, after being convicted by a French court over anti-Semitic behavior — this, especially given the tense climate after the Paris terror attacks that included killings at a kosher supermarket.
The house simply said that the Gibraltar-born couturier had not designed the show as he was concentrating on the womenswear.
Here are the tidbits and highlights of Friday's fall-winter menswear 2015 collections in Paris, including show reports for Maison Margiela, Berluti and Givenchy.
GIVENCHY'S VOODOO LATINO
From the red sequin-infested catwalk — that looked like Dorothy's ruby slippers had mated with the Yellow Brick Road — to frightening skeleton voodoo face paints, bold Indian ethnic patterns, fox tails hanging off midriffs, and high-waisted matador silhouettes, it was hard to make head or tail of Riccardo Tisci's wacky collection for Givenchy.
What the show lacked in coherence, it sure made up for in exuberance.
Proceedings began with variations of Western sartorial pinstripes (layered and with skirts), but took a turn for the gothic surreal in the form of unstructured fur waistcoats sporting bells, alongside black plumes and oddly placed fur tails.
Then began the Indian musing — the on-trend ethnic touch.
Tisci experimented with a pattern in orange, pink, brown and black that at times overwhelmed as a total-look on mid-thigh length suits.
Some female models trod the catwalk, sometimes with nipples exposed in sheer material.
As if this weren't enough to confuse the fashion crowd, Tisci then went Hispanic — with gaucho looks and glitter-clad Latin jackets.
The (many) great looks were the simplest: like one enviable minimalist black coat with large contrasting tan leather pocket strips.
Even for ever-creative Tisci, the mantra should still apply: less is more.
But it was a darn cool show.
GALLIANO'S ARRIVAL TRIGGERS REMOVAL OF "MARTIN" FROM MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA NAME
It looks like the arrival at the house of Galliano has brought change in more ways than one.
This month, rather surreptitiously and without much ado, the house dropped "Martin" from its name.
It was most probably in a bid to depersonalize itself from the Belgian ex-designer and house founder who went A.W.O.L. in 2009, and open the way for Galliano. Now the house is simply: "Maison Margiela."
"It's a new turn, and a way of revitalizing and changing the house," says branding analyst Adrien Weitzman. "It terms of branding, I think it makes it more accessible."
This kind of marketing tactic has been seen in the past, and has courted controversy.
When designer Hedi Slimane took the creative reins of Yves Saint Laurent, he was accused of megalomania and trying to erase the house's heritage with its associations to the house founder by dropping the name "Yves" and rebranding it "Saint Laurent Paris."
MAISON MARGIELA GOES GLAM ROCK
It was a stylish and saleable ode to the late 70s and early 80s at Maison Margiela.
The show opened on a high note with a bold, leather cobalt-blue trench coat and assorted leather belt.
High 80s pants topped off this look nicely, with a great detail in the waist, repeated throughout the collection: thick button-down fabric hoops to hold the belt.
Silky, turtle neck sweaters came in brown and purple with geometric zigzags.
And Seventies leather boots — a hybrid between a Cuban and Chelsea style — came in red or brown and nicely complemented the retro musing.
Lest we forgot which decade we were in, one model with a spot-on Glam Rock buttercup yellow jacket and one earring — had heterochromia (different colored eyes) like music icon David Bowie.
It was a sparkling detail.
BERLUTI'S BLUE COUP
Berluti, the bootmaker since 1895, branched out into clothes last season under the watchful eye of LVMH-owner Bernard Arnault's powerful son, Antoine, who is CEO.
There's certainly a lot of money backing this fashion horse, but that's not to say the project was destined to be a success.
So hats off to the designer, Alessandro Sartori, who pulled of a luxuriant coup, improving on the last collection to give this nascent house a voice in the fashion conversation.
Berluti, it said, is the luxuriant dandy.
Sartori's 49-piece-strong collection displayed perfect mastery in color.
Hues such as terre verte, sienna brown, Venetian red, soft plum, ultramarine, dark blue and gray blue melted together in beautiful harmony, in loose leather trenches, double breasted jackets, tailored pants, classy mottled brogue shoes or bright Dandy-like cravates.
Watch this space.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP