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Oscars Go Head To Head With Paris Fashion Week
PARIS - The Oscars last night may be the biggest celebration of the year for the movie biz. But for serious fashionistas the focus was not on the red carpet, but on the City of Lights, where Paris Fashion Week - prêt à porter fall/winter 2007 - kicked off Sunday.If the first days shows were anything to go by, there really is no excuse for not dressing right on the night. Think past winners of worst-dressed Oscar lists, such as Cher and Demi Moore.
Paris fashion house Balmains collection Sunday had enough stand-out style in its luxury line up of fabulous evening wear to dress this years nominees and some to the nines.
Dont let my favored description of Big Bird meets the Romans at Etam put you off.
Balmain, which has re-established itself as a cool choice in recent years, showcased dresses featuring armor-inspired silver detailing; Roman shoulder caps, embroidery and braiding; and some of those strange, white fluffy Roman wing things as well. All in all, the dresses were slinky, sexy, stylish and sometimes super short, but always beautiful.
One has to say, for true glamour, forget the Hollywood and Highland complex, the home of The Oscars and a non-descript slab of concrete otherwise serving as a shopping mall, hotel and theater. The Balmain show took place in the palatial, bronze-gilded Salle Imperiale at the Westin Hotel. Designed in the Napoleonic style, the ceiling was created by French architect Garnier who designed the Paris Opera. The room was ornate and truly grand.Inside, the fashion crowd dressed almost unanimously in black with one exception, fashion journalisms grand dame Suzie Menkes of the International Herald Tribune who arrived fresh off the plane from Milan sporting a sleeveless top resembling a sheeps body dyed in red. It
certainly brightened the place up, and is no doubt all the rage.
Later that afternoon, another crowd murmured quietly in the beautiful Ecole Superieure des Beaux Arts on the bank of the Seine and waited patiently for Los Angeles designer Rick Owens show to begin. Kicking off almost an hour late - pretty usual on the fashion week circuit and proving this bunch to be far more patient than their film counterparts - it was well worth the wait. The Paris-based designer presented a line up of bizarre and strikingly unusual coats and jackets proving that originality and creativity are still alive and kicking.One of Owens designs took a traditional pilots bomber jacket and did all sorts of unusual things with it, creating a cavernous back that arced out to form the shape of a bloated beetle in one case. Owens created a wide variety of strange shapes, cuts and details leaving many coats to look like the costumes for some weird sci-fi cyborg epic.
Models sported extended beanie hats and balaclava-type head covers and fabulously flipped-out shoes.
Later than night, an a school stadium in Saint Germaine guests gathered on concrete benches decked in cream colored cushions sporting the logo Wu Yong, the latest brand from a Chinese designer Ma Ke, who was presenting at fashion week for the first time. They were lead to seats facing an industrial, green curtain by a team wearing cream-colored Wu Yong tops that looked like upside down cardigans which only went so far round.The curtain fell to reveal static models standing on illuminated podiums wearing the clothes of peasants and covered in mud from top to toe. The spotlight fell on each design in turn, until the audience was invited down into the arena to observe the figures up close.
The presentation turned out to be the launch of an exhibition from the designer that will run in Paris through April 6th at the Palais Royale.
Wuyong means useless in English. The theme of the show was the earth that covered parts of the floor, and the peasants clothes and bodies in this bizarre and highly unusual collection of clothing.
In a statement handed out with cushions and carry bags to take home after the show, Ma Ke explained: In a word, my creation is the result of a long quest for essential simplicity, of a truer life which we mistakenly seek in speed. La joie de vivre found in history rather than the temptations of the present.
Thank God its not hitting stores anytime soon.
Still, a word of advice to whoever ends up on this years worst-dressed lists: Next year head for Paris.
Just dont go looking for Ma Ke. Liza ForemanEntertainment Business Journalist Cell:3108738312Home: 3104529532E:firstname.lastname@example.org
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