PARIS (AP) — From exposed breasts to Japanese origami to the ration-era Forties, Sunday's installment of VIP-filled Paris Fashion Week had it all. Here are the spring-summer 2016 collection highlights.
KENZO'S DELICATE PRECISION
Clean white geometric arches that looked almost cut from paper greeted rather fatigued guests in the large auditorium at Kenzo's Sunday morning show in Northern Paris.
The idea of paper was perhaps closely melded to the creative process for Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, who produced a highly creative show with plays on origami cutouts. It was certainly worth the early morning trek.
As ever, for the house founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada, styles were Asia-infused.
Segments in contrasting patterns produced the first looks which included one Burmese-looking tight knee-length dress.
The creative juices got flowing with the introduction of a white lattice top with tiny, delicate cut outs, which looked like it had been made according to the Japanese paper folding traditions. It was beautifully set off with a funky studded mini in ochre with matching pockets — a neat template for the collection's general silhouette: tight, mini and gently A-line.
This origami effect recurred on space-age white and ochre stripper boots that were desexualized with sandal heels and a crisscross pattern.
Patterns were also standout — like in a series of looks that channeled a sort of electrified hounds-tooth with bright blue and black pixilation.
The designers let their hair down toward the end in a deft series of floppy, amorphous gowns with fluttery interlocking strips of fabric — which show why Kenzo is still one of the funkiest tickets in town.
CELINE'S INGENIOUS FOURTIES
Dior's 1949 New Look — when post-war rationing ended and full length dresses came back — is normally the earlier chronological starting point for the day's diverse catwalk styles.
Celine's designer, the ever-creative Pheobe Philo, bucked this trend.
Philo on Sunday wowed guests by putting surreal, contemporary twists on designs from the ration-era Forties.
Puffy gathered sleeves, shorter hems to mid-calf, and tight shirts with loose, full-waisted pants were fashioned in pre-World War II hues of dark gray, navy, black and camel.
Proportions were exaggerated and elongated like subjects from the painter Modigliani — extra-narrow waists with chiseled vertical panels, wide scooped necklines that pointed at the side, or gathered sleeves that spilled over the upper arm.
Stand-out looks included a gray "siren suit" jumpsuit that British subjects would put on hurriedly to seek shelter during WWII air raids, modernized with funky zippers, and a trench coat that might have been worn by Marlene Dietrich, were it not for its fashion-forward large volume.
Empire-line blouses were thrown into the mix to make this one of the most thoughtful collections this season.
Paris is the city of Louis Vuitton, Dior and Chanel — but it's also a champion of young designers.
France's powerful French Couture Federation is co-sponsoring an event called "Designers Apartment" that lasts for the duration of Paris Fashion Week.
It promotes up and coming talents that would otherwise be swallowed up in the maelstrom of multi-million dollar labels and groups such as Kering and LMVH.
For the spring-summer 2016 season, a building in Paris' 2nd district has been set aside to showcase walk-in ateliers and exhibits by a whole swathe of talented designers such as A.Guery, Koche, Maison Père, Monographie, Victoria/Tomas and Y/Project.
Koche, for example, has used this platform to gain recognition in parallel to their first on-calendar catwalk show last Monday.
"Designers Apartment" is in its seventh edition.
NINA RICCI'S SHEER SENSUALITY
A foxy belted, shiny coat showing décolleté and worn with nothing else underneath was the opening statement at Nina Ricci — a sign that in only his second show for the historic brand, talented designer Guillaume Henry is steering the boat away from gamine nostalgia.
Exposed nipples and shoulders, glimmering waxed leather and yards of sheer organza spelt full-throttle sensuality in the Saturday night show that was well-received by the audience, which included model and actress Laetitia Casta.
Black aprons and rhinestone-encrusted straps filed by alongside fluttering embroidered feathers, evoking a contradiction of the aggressive versus the soft and feminine.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP