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Paris couture week skirts around riots with Surrealist start



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Credits: Launchmetrics Spotlight. Dior, Haute Couture FW23 collection.

An artist-inspired show from Schiaparelli opened Paris haute couture week Monday, easing fears that fashion shows would have to be cancelled due to five nights of rioting across France.

French label Celine cancelled its show on Sunday (held outside the official calendar) due to unrest sparked by the police killing of a teenager last week.

But with violence ebbing around the French capital over the weekend, the fashion federation said it did not expect disruption to couture week, which celebrates the most expensive, tailor-made end of the industry.

Before a crowd including rapper Cardi B, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actress Gwendoline Christie, Schiaparelli got things rolling with what it described as "a Surrealist's interpretation of a woman's essential closet".

One of the designs was created by hand-painting a woman's body in the style of artist Lucian Freud and then transferring it to a silk body stocking.

A cardigan and skirt made from broken mirror pieces was inspired by sculptor Jack Whitten, and there were nods to Sarah Lucas, Joan Miro and Salvador Dali -- borrowing the vibrant colours of his distorted sunrise paintings.

Clean lines

Christian Dior followed with a show at the Rodin Museum inspired by classical-era statues.

There were no frills or heels in the new collection, which was full of clean, vertical lines and subtle shades of white, black, beige, gold and silver.

But designer Maria Grazia Chiuri told AFP that "these clean lines hide remarkable complexity" and that it took a lot of work to keep Dior's iconic New Look shapes while stripping away much of the complex constructions that underpin couture dresses.

Meanwhile, Holland's star designer Iris Van Herpen presented an aquatic and futuristic collection to a crowd including singer Camila Cabello and actress Maisie Williams.

The transparent outfits included an iridescent blue pleated dress reminiscent of the fins of a fish, while many of the models evoked mermaids.

Van Herpen, whose designs are a fixture of red carpets and feature in Beyonce's Renaissance tour, will have an exhibition dedicated to her in Paris in November.

Indian designer Rahul Mishra also put on an opulent display, with dresses that featured tigers, orchids and artisans in the designs, which he called an homage to "the imagination and craftsmanship of embroiderers".

He was one of several designers to include men among the models in his show -- previously a rarity in haute couture.

Mishra told AFP it was the first time he had done so at a Paris show: "(The clothes) were not made with that intent, but when we came here, we fit them onto the boys and they looked amazing."

Monday also saw the couture debuts of US designer Thom Browne and 26-year-old Charles de Vilmorin, presenting for his own brand after a short-lived tenure as artistic director of Rochas.

"I'm super happy to have lived through all this and to do my first show," the Frenchman told AFP.(AFP)

Elsa Schiaparelli
Haute Couture
Haute Couture Week