PARIS — Feathers met tutus in a ballet-themed show by Jean Paul Gaultier on the final full day of the fall-winter haute couture collections in Paris on Wednesday.
Inspired by the film "Black Swan", Gaultier's avian creations doubled as a prelude to the post-show launch of Kokorico, a musky men's fragrance, down the Rue Saint Martin from his atelier in central Paris.
Highlights included a glittering black sheath gown with wing-like burgundy gloves, a long kaleidoscopic bustier dress with billowing hem, and a dramatically voluminous scarlet leather trench coat with fur collar.
One of Gauthier's model muses from the 1990s, Quebec-born Eve Salvail, instantly recognisable with her tattooed shaven scalp, returned to the runway in a "3D corset" that spilled snow-white silk from the bosom.
"I just walked for Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Show in Paris, after 15 Years of not modeling!!! It was exhilarating!!!!" exclaimed Salvail, now a New York-based DJ, on her Twitter account.
Spanish luxury goods group Puig took over Hermes' majority stake Gaultier's successful house in May, but the renegade designer -- subject of a major retrospective in Montreal this summer -- remains its creative director.
Earlier on Wednesday, fairy-tale femininity held forth as Valentino and Elie Saab both introduced elegant refined looks fit for a princess.
Breaking from the sharp-edged modernism seen the day before from the likes of Giorgio Armani and Stephane Rolland, both houses offered their most exclusive clients the most finely crafted examples of high fashion.
For Valentino, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli kept the cutting simple for Cinderella-like dresses, gowns and coats that required hundreds of hours of embroidery and weaving.
Danish top model Freja Beha Erichsen floated down the runway at the Hotel Salomon de Rothschild in fine Chantilly lace with golden detailing. Other etheral looks included a black Cossack coat embroidered with gold sequins.
Front-row VIPs included American actresses Anne Hathaway and Amanda Peet.
At the Palais de Chaillot, Lebanese-born Saab stayed true to the classical lines that have made him a consistent favourite of red-carpet habitues from Hollywood to the Gulf.
There was a something of a 1920s glamour to his 41 looks -- all dresses, apart from a couple of lace miniskirts -- in tulle, chiffon and lace in shades of aquamarine, blush, blue and bronze.
Swarovsky crystals added sparkle to many of the outfits, and Saab clearly enjoyed playing with all kinds of options for bared backs that lent a discreet sense of drama to otherwise angelic silhouettes.
Notable among the front-row celebrities was Russian model and actress Anna Sherbinina, who turned up early with a most peculiar date -- a doll dressed in Elie Saab style.
More VIPs were awaited for the evening launch of Saab's first perfume, produced in partnership with Shiseido unit Beaute Prestige International, for sale in the United States, some European markets and Lebanon this month.
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