Valentino took drama to its height at its Wednesday spring couture collection in Paris, where Celine Dion wept theatrically as a solemn Naomi Campbell swept past to close the house’s show in a see-through black organza gown. The VIP crowd that was surrounded by multicolored perfumed flowers whooped during a standing ovation as snow fell outside. Here are some highlights of Wednesday’s spring-summer 2019 couture collections:

Models present creations by Elie Saab at the end of the 2019 Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris. —AFP

ELIE SAAB SWIMS
Elie Saab swam to the depths of the sea for inspiration and came back up with a sparkling bounty of summer couture. A Caribbean Island and underwater flora was the theme of the show inside Paris’ Palais de Chaillot that was put on to the sound of an enchanting James Bond-style soundtrack.
Oversized shades resembling a sort of underwater-mask set the chic but playful tone. Saab’s loose, full silk gowns gleamed with embroidered sequins and beading that referenced the sparkle of tropical fish, sea mollusks and mother-of-pearl. Coral was the idea behind asymmetrical architectural gowns in vivid red that captured the randomly forming three-dimensional curves of the beautiful sea organisms. Couture swimwear added a fun touch amid the aquatic musing alongside some figure-hugging mermaid cuts.

GAULTIER’S ASIAN WATERS
It was a typically tongue-in-cheek affair for Gaultier. This season, a particularly theatrical vision of Asia was served up in combination with a water theme. Gaultier’s signature maritime stripe opened the show on an Asian model with a cinched oriental waist. The Asian theme became more obvious as the collection progressed beginning with a look from Gaultier muse, model Anna Cleveland. She rocked a diaphanous pleated organza gown with voluminous sleeves and a black crisscross “martial arts” lapel. It was topped with a huge, piled-up Oriental wig, an accessory featured throughout the show.
The program notes then listed a series of looks inspired by the sea such as “New Wave,” featuring an undulating black-and-white striped organza front piece. Then, a dark wool pant suit with jagged “fin” shoulders called “Stop Being a Shark” filed by, prompting chuckles from some seated guests.

Models present creations by Jean-Paul Gaultier during the 2019 Spring- Summer Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris.

GAULTIER’S DIVERSITY
Sports Illustrated cover model Irina Shayk heaped praise on Gaultier for championing diversity and creating collections that could speak to all kinds of men and women of different ages and style. “That’s what makes him so special in the fashion industry. He broke all the barriers,” said Shayk, ahead of the summer show that featured Asian and black models and played on Asia-inspired styles. “He doesn’t have a standard beauty.
You can see models of different shapes and personalities on the runway. It’s not a typical fashion show,” she added. Since an early age, Gaultier, 66, has been inspired by models from different backgrounds. In 1979, he launched the career of one of his earliest muses, supermodel Farida Khelfa, who is of Algerian descent.