Paris Fashion Week channels humor, animated film for spring

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A model wears a creation for the Hermes Spring-Summer 2022 ready-to-wear fashion show presented Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, in Paris. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — As weary fashionistas made it to the final sprint of Paris Fashion Week’s 96 physical and digital spring-summer shows, Saturday’s runways provided the spark to keep energy going, despite rain and gray skies. Some of the world’s top designers channeled humor, bright colors, innovative design techniques and even animated films for ever-imaginative displays.

Here are some highlights of ready-to-wear collections for Spring-Summer 2022:

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD DEFIES DESCRIPTION

Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood was in typically eccentric form.

Mixing Glam Rock references from Westwood’s 80s heyday with historic musing and a tongue firmly in cheek, Kronthaler created 66 pieces of fashion mayhem and put on one of the most fun shows this Paris fashion season.

To a plasma screen that projected blown-up images of architecture and textiles, models stood showcasing styles that almost defied description.

Did the pale bridal dress with invisible scaffolding at the back resemble a tent, or was it meant to evoke a garment that had been hung out to dry on a clothesline? A giant white historic hat cut a fine shape, but on closer inspection was made out of a cuddly toy bearing the face of an old bearded man.

But while the humor was undeniable, there were also many moments of sublime fashion design. A trompe l’oeil gown had pale blue fabric “floating” abstractly on its front. The simplest looks were also some of the best, including a draped white gown with a beautiful dynamic whoosh of material.

ANREALAGE GETS CREATIVE

The fashion-forward house of Tokyo’s Kunihiko Morinaga has built up a huge fan base in Japan for his daring concepts that merge art and fashion.

On Saturday, Morinaga did not disappoint.

The award-winning designer treated fashion editors to a collaboration with Oscar-nominated Japanese animation filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda. It was short fashion movie set in the land of “U” — with clothes that evoked the landmark sci-fi movie “Tron.”

Polygonal silhouettes made from triangles of fabrics in his signature patchwork were immersed in the fictional universe of a sort of futuristic Japan.

They were made from vintage garments and hi-tech reflective fabrics that the house said were made using a special bonding technique. The designs’ matching platform sandals were embellished with the same motif. It was an interesting comment on how the digital world has affected the fashion industry.

Morinaga said the idea of the show began when he was asked by Hosoda to create the virtual stage costume for a concert scene in “BELLE” (2021), his upcoming animated feature film.

PARED DOWN ELIE SAAB

Lebanese designer-to-the-stars Elie Saab toned down his aesthetic for spring with a simple and tasteful collection.

Logo-emblazoned prints began the display. But the looks departed quickly — and thankfully — from this rather unsubtle idea towards light shirt dresses with segments of lace detailing.

A white, loose proportioned dress had a stylish minimalist, almost clinical feel. It worked well against a vanilla handbag and matching sandals.

Delicate touches abounded in this welcome direction for the designer famed for his va-va-voom silhouettes. His signature high or cinched waists were still here — but executed softly.

The piece de resistance? A teal green 70s jumpsuit hybrid with pleats that flapped stylishly through the air.

VALENTINO

In the heart of Paris’ most fashionable and streetwise district Le Marais, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli let his hair down. It made for a vibrant and varied collection entitled “Rendez Vous.”

For spring, his aim was to show fashion as it should be – worn on the street. And that he did literally.

There were gleaming gold sequins, eye-popping color, baggy jeans and sheeny Juliette sleeves that smacked of the 80s. This season, the Italian designer moved in a welcome disco-infused direction.

Yet, the designs remained finessed despite the street-musing: One loose, menswear suit in emerald had a silk foulard collar in lavender flapping out delicately from underneath. Silken material ensured that this collection maintained a real sense of luxuriance throughout.

“(This is) street not meant as streetwear but conceived… as real life,” clarified the house of Piccioli’s intentions.

When the show ended, like true Parisians, guests were handed bouquets of local flowers sourced from real flower sellers in the Ile-de-France region, while the models strutted around the city streets to thunderous cheers.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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