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Anti-fur protest and celebrity concerts cap Paris couture

fashionAs couture week in Paris entered its final furlong, the French capital was electrified by celebrity concerts and eccentric, creative designs. But Karl Lagerfeld's fur-only couture show for Fendi provoked disruptive animal-rights protests. Here are the highlights of the fall-winter 2015-16 shows on Wednesday, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf and Elie Saab.
Elie Saab's princesses

All the colors of Rapunzel's sleepy, overgrown magical tower featured in the Lebanese designer's subdued couture collection Wednesday. Long lace column gowns had glimmering organic embroideries that seemed to have delicately grown up on them like the plants and vines in the fairytale princess's tower. Sheer tulle sections in the skirts and torso played on transparency, evoking the three-dimensionality of flora.

Saab made sure his color palette this season mirrored this - doing away with his bread-and-butter, traffic-stopping bright gowns for a softer color wheel. Gold and silver embroidered dresses captured the hues of metal. Elsewhere, nude pink evoked flesh, pale terre verte the plants, and beige and black, the Earth. The models, who wore organic golden crowns, made it clear this indeed was a collection aimed at women who see themselves as princesses.

Gaultier goes Breton
The Breton stripe, as worn by sailors, has become synonymous with Jean Paul Gaultier over the years (alongside the conical bra.) So Wednesday's fall-winter couture collection - inspired by the French region of Brittany - seemed like a wholly natural place for the French designer.
The results were more theatre than couture. But the exuberant couturier produced a highly infectious presentation, replete with an entire traditional Breton orchestra performing bagpipes on the runway, crepe-makers handing out delights and one model marching theatrically down in a giant patchwork couture explosion with a tube wig that had one guest weeping with laughter.
The collection saw lashings of Breton stripes, in blue and white tights, sheer black velvet blouses - and traditional lace Breton tube hats in exaggerated heights. The Celtic Circle defined many of the silhouettes - appearing as giant circle skirts often embroidered in traditional patterns - and one gold show-stopper with black feather fringing. Catherine Deneuve applauded enthusiastically from the front row alongside American actress Michelle Rodriguez. "I've loved Gaultier since I was in my twenties," Rodriguez told The Associated Press. "He's just got always that edge, you know? He's like an artist and he's never scared."

Viktor & Rolf answer couture's most existential question
Should fashion be considered art? That existential debate has gone on for decades. Dutch duo Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren tried to put the question to rest by wrapping their latest couture creations in giant picture frames and blank canvasses - an ingenious, creative and hilarious idea. The bespectacled designers stood at the foot of the white, sanitized catwalk holding squashed white-framed canvass shapes crushed into abstract, often A-line, skirts. A model would appear, wearing nothing but a plain loose indigo minidress, and get "framed" by the designers, who fitted her into the skirt.
Beyond getting fashionistas chuckling, they produced some very thought-provoking looks - like a jagged trapeze shape with one arm out and the other arm's hand jutting wonkily up like a cubist work of art. Then blue and other colors were splashed on the canvasses, which developed gilded, gold frames. The show was a work of art - but was it wearable fashion?--AP

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This article was published on 09/07/2015