PARIS (AP) — In a week marked by big debuts, it was designer Kim Jones’ turn at Dior Men on Saturday.
The British designer drew stars from the worlds of film, music and fashion to Paris for his first collection at the storied powerhouse.
Stars such as Bella Hadid, Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, Robert Pattinson, Kelly Osbourne and Gwendoline Christie all marveled as the entered the historic courtyard venue in which a 20-meter (66-foot) avatar sculpture of Christian Dior made of flowers towered over guests.
Here are some highlights from Saturday’s runway shows.
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KIM JONES’ DEBUT AT DIOR
British designer Kim Jones dug deep into the Dior women’s archives to produce a softer-than-usual collection for men, which retained the house’s signature edginess.
Gentle pastel colors fused with flashes of cobalt blue, yellow and florals for the display that moved the Dior aesthetic in a gentler direction than that of Jones’ predecessor, Kris Van Assche, who looked on from the front row.
“Translating a quintessentially feminine couture identity into a masculine idiom results in clothes which are softer, with rounded shoulders and eased shapes,” the house explained.
There was much artistry. The house’s staple shirt was given a slashed cowl at the back, exposing the back — in a touch of cool. Floral motifs referenced Dior’s love of flowers and a decorative landscape print cropped up in jacquards, embroideries and even in feathers. The program notes said it was a pattern used in the original 1947 boutique on Paris’ Avenue Montaigne.
The Dior suits, in cashmere and summer mohair, were double breasted in reference to the diagonal shape of a women’s Dior jacket from 1950. But to retain the edginess, the suits were worn against a naked torso on a model in sneakers.
It was a great touch that perfectly summed up Dior’s sportswear-meets-couture style.
DIOR AS A FLOWER GIANT
The sweet scents from a giant flower figure — by artist Kaws and made of pink, green and black flowers — wafted in between Dior’s celebrity guests.
The strange man — an avatar of Christian Dior clutching a perfume bottle in the shape of his dog Bobby — bowled over guests, including Kelly Osbourne.
“The set is actually incredible,” said Osbourne, craning her neck.
The 33-year-old British singer, who joined model Natalia Vodianova on the front row, said she was attending the Paris debut to support her friend Jones, whose previous job was menswear chief at Louise Vuitton.
“As a proud Brit, it just goes to show how artistically talented we all are … we’re so proud of him,” she said. “It might be the entire front row crying.”
THOM BROWNE’S GARDEN WONDERLAND
Floating multicolored balloons, giant lollypops, garden gnomes, colored origami windmills and myriad blooms spilling from colored pots greeted guests at the Leftbank’s Ecole des Beaux Arts.
To showcase his summer designs Saturday, Thom Browne transformed the chic Paris inner courtyard into a verdant garden wonderland.
It drew comparisons to Alice in Wonderland, Willy Wonka’s factory and even Munchkinland as models with comic beards pretended to mow the lawn with metal contraptions or push a wheelbarrow full of flowers. One “gnome” model even climbed inside a tiny garden shed and stayed motionless the entire show.
Browne’s dramatically oversized clothes continued the wacky, off-kilter vibe.
A sheeny sky blue coat with images of whales opened the show, introducing a beautifully random maritime theme that continued in lobsters and crabs.
Sloping-shoulder suit jackets, oversize coats, bags and billowing culottes were imagined in picnic blanket-style crisscross. For the 60 looks, it was stripes and check galore. A double breasted coat-jacket in gray had blown-up pinstripes with the dominant silhouette of a wide, flat front.
All of the designs were accessorized with a bowler hat with a flower in it, a colored tie and gargantuan striped platform shoes.
BROWNE SHOWS WINTER COATS FOR SUMMER AS SEASONS BLUR
Thom Browne’s decision to include big, thick coats for his summer collection triggered a debate between two front-row fashion editors.
“Winter coats for summer?” asked one, puzzled.
“The seasons are almost the same in the industry now, anyway,” answered the other, with some truth.
Progressively over the years, spring-summer and fall-winter fashion seasons have become increasingly blurred. Winter clothes such as big sweaters and big coats are no stranger to the summer catwalks. Often, summer shows are now distinguishable only for their brighter color palette and the occasional pair of shorts — and even that garment has been spotted in some winter shows.
Critics cite several reasons for the seasonal blur.
Summer collections are first available to buy during the winter months and the proliferation of social media means that more people see, and therefore want, to wear the clothes months earlier than in past decades.
Global warming has also been blamed for designers’ desire to mix up their styles given that the seasons themselves are less predictable than before.
VIVID COLORS AT SACAI
A multicolored cube of giant speakers tied together with fluorescent yellow banding greeted guests at Sacai’s warehouse show, suggesting that a quirky, avant-garde show was coming from one of Japan’s top fashion houses.
That was not wrong.
Men’s and women’s designs merged in the diverse 57-piece show from Sacai, with geometric prints, checks and denim all mixing with silhouettes. Some coats or billowing skirts had exaggerated tapering proportions.
The one thing that created unity in this eccentric display was its vivid colors: purple, dark navy, bitter lemon, crimson and bronze. At times, the bright hues came on printed and patterned garments that evoked the ethnic styles of Latin America.
HERMES IS LUXURY
Veronique Nichanian showed exactly why she is one of the longest-serving fashion designers on the menswear calendar.
The French Hermes designer pulled off a highly saleable, color-sensitive and texture-rich display in Paris’ chic Leftbank Saturday night.
Hermes is a byword for luxury; and Nichanian has been very instrumental in shaping this storied French house’s menswear aesthetic.
Notably, her styles — as seen for spring-summer — demonstrate how men’s clothes can be both elegant and colorful and retain full-throttle masculinity.
This isn’t always the case on Paris’ luxury runways.
Colors such as royal orange, Cetacean blue, lemon and burnt Sienna were tastefully combined in loose silhouettes sometimes capped with a relaxed-looking two-strap sandal.
A beautiful leather knee length Crayola yellow coat shimmered next to a matte open-neck vanilla colored sweater in a perfectly studied contrast.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K