PARIS (AP) — Saint Laurent unveiled its newly restored 17th century mansion atelier to a pack of astounded celebrities and fashionistas Monday, capping a vivacious day of ready-to-wear collections. Here are the fall-winter 2016 show highlights, including show reports from Saint Laurent, Giambattista Valli, Hermes and Stella McCartney.
SAINT LAURENT UNVEILS COUTURE MANSION
It's no secret that designer Hedi Slimane is a secretive man.
But celebrities including David Furnish and Catherine Deneuve were bowled over Monday night as the designer unveiled the previously unannounced restoration of a 17-Century mansion — YSL's new couture house and the venue for the ready-to-wear show.
The revamp — with sparkling marble staircases and crystal chandeliers — had quietly been underway in the prestigious Left Bank for the last year and a half unbeknown to the fashion press.
In keeping with the classicism of the venue, Slimane chose to model the fall-winter show on Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent's famed couture presentations.
With no music and models walking the runway slowly and with poise, each look was announced by the iconic Benedicte de Ginestous, who announced all the YSL looks between 1977 and 2002, the year when the couture line finally closed down.
SAINT LAURENT'S DISCO DRESSES
Well and truly gone are the days of grunge.
Monday's Saint Laurent show made sure of that with Hedi Slimane's shimmering ode to the big-shouldered era of Eighties disco.
Almost each and every one of the 42 looks featured a micro mini.
Hair was slicked back, and the garish thick black eye makeup set the fashion dial firmly to the time of the New Romantics.
But though this collection was fun — a Slimane trademark — with its touches of giant blue fox fur coats and fake-snake embroidered bronze silk minis, it was also replete with clever visual twists and accomplished artistry in the shoulder silhouette.
The sometimes asymmetrical huge shoulder flourishes at times visually overpowered the signature uber-skinny models in an interesting and exaggerated style. Elsewhere, a one shoulder micro dress embroidered with metallic snake scales had a diagonal cut in the bodice which was picked up by a giant 80's leather belt with big metallic studs.
Slimane must have savored the irony between the lofty venue and the sparkling disco glitter of the clothes.
STELLA MCCARTNEY'S OVERSIZED ABSTRACTIONS
Stella McCartney channeled the unexpected.
In a highly imaginative show that was more daring than usual, the British-American designer Monday morning took familiar garments and styles and gave them a funky and glamorous twist.
Huge truncated bubble jackets bounced by alongside enveloping turtle neck gowns and huge wrap around denim jackets.
The first look was among the best — a huge sleeveless bubble jacket in red velvet that oozed contradictory glamour.
Its stripy accordion pleats in the silk skirt riffed nicely on the model's short hair — evoking the Roaring Twenties as immortalized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in the Great Gatsby.
The opulence of the venue — the grand, gilded hall of the Paris Opera — only added to the glitz.
But this collection also boasted hidden gems — one delicate peach gown with lace, pleats and a sheer section which sensually showed off the leg.
Proud father Sir Paul McCartney cheered from the front row next to his wife Nancy Shevell, who wore embroidered Stella McCartney jeans with a ruffled cardigan and terracotta coat.
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI'S FINE NEEDLE
Lauded Italian designer Giambattista Valli got out his finest couture needle this season.
The result was an intricate and delicate collection of stripes and textures — that was both feminine and complex and peppered with flowers.
Myriad patterns on a tight fitting Sixties skirt suit and coat-dress created a blurry, marbled image in black and white and blue.
The optical play was then further evoked with a boot-style that was used throughout the 47-piece show that featured dozens of fine black straps fastening all the way to the knee.
Silhouettes didn't stray from Valli's bread-and-butter A-line mini look and floor length cocktail gowns — but there were some stylish variations, such as a white A-line bib that hung like a fringe on a look worn by model-of-the-minute Gigi Hadid.
Designer Nadege Vanhee-Cybulski showcased an archetypically soft, luxuriant show for style powerhouse Hermes.
A recurrent theme was angular sectionality.
The first looks — they were the fall-winter collection's strongest — in softest yellow ochre.
A stiff, three-dimensional sleeveless top sported flat interlocking panels above an ankle length skirt with stylish angular planes that evoked the motif of a herringbone floor.
While a stiff silk coat, made of interlocking sections, features grooves going in different directions.
Elsewhere, the French designer showed off her talent for the delicate.
A huggable fur tank top was tied with a soft black leather Obi-belt and the fabric used in a series of cinched waist gray wool looks was so soft, it looked like the material had melted onto the model.
PARIS HOTELS PROMOTE FASHION THROUGH FOOD
In support of fashion, Paris hotels are collaborating more and more to promote up-and-coming designers.
In its first edition, Hilton Opera Paris has opened up a suite for the length of ready-to-wear to showcase the talents of several fashion and accessories designers — and have created special food and drinks menus inspired by the artistic creations.
One seafood dish that was inspired by Dutch eyewear designer Ralph Vaessen featured a lobster in coconut shell with giant edible sun shades made from potato skin.
The menu and cocktails change each day in support of the five designers, who include Tomas Blakk, Neith Neyer, Electric co and Bettina Vermillon.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP