The ever-inventive Rick Owens nearly cooked his front row at Paris Fashion Week thanks to a giant burning sculpture, while Indian designer Manish Arora brought the colors of a carnival and Carnival to a zany spring collection that stylishly followed no rules.
Here are some highlights from Fashion Week events on Thursday:
Was it the flame of hell? A cult’s symbol? The Tower of Babel?
Editors sitting in the front row for the Rick Owens runway show were certain of one thing: the gargantuan five-legged pyramid that Owens set ablaze suddenly got really, really hot.
Flames ascended meters into the air as smoke created clouds that rose well above the Palais de Tokyo venue.
When the show began, not much explanation was given for the inferno that kept on burning. But it didn’t seem to matter, given the reputation for the unfathomable the talented Californian designer has garnered over the years.
Insectoid figures, fashioned from sculptural pieces of garments such as sleeves tied around the body, filed by with cube-shaped antennae.
The stripes of a blackened American flag fluttered off the back of a model in a long black skirt.
Loose filaments that dangled down from straps on supple mini-dresses created fluidity and added to the nice organic feel that many of the designs possessed.
The only element that seemed to hark to the fire theme were some dystopian goddess looks: models dressed in shredded geometric column dresses walking solemnly down stone steps holding burning torches.
In short, it was a typically creative display from Owens.
MANISH ARORA CELEBRATES COLOR AND SOCCER
It was time for Carnival, soccer and celebration at color-loving Manish Arora.
The India-based designer’s bright and exuberant creations came alive with wild face paints, incandescent sequins, glimmering silks, giant jewelry and multicolor lacing and stitching.
They were showcased on an outdoor runway just as the sun happened to appear — adding another note of joy.
Myriad ideas came together successfully in a mad sort of runway collage.
Limited edition tops created in homage to France’s multicultural Paris Saint-Germain soccer team launched the show.
The faces and names of Brazil’s Thiago Silva and France’s Kylian Mbappe, who has Cameroonian and Algerian roots, became prints on T-shirts or gathered and loose-fitting sweaters.
Then, bright wraps that might have been worn by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo appeared, followed by African-style jackets with swirling motifs.
Giant bows adorned skirts that would have been appropriate for Carnival in Silva’s hometown of Rio de Janeiro.
GAULTIER: THE MUSICAL
Since ending his ready-to-wear line in 2014, Jean Paul Gaultier has been missed on the Fashion Week calendar.
So some editors jumped when the famed French couturier returned this season in a different guise, clearing their afternoons to attend press previews for his new musical-review “Fashion Freak Show.”
All the corsets, sparkle and provocation of the 66-year-old’s colorful life have gone into the spectacle that chronicles his journey from a nascent designer in 1976 to achieving world-wide fame via Madonna’s iconic conical bra in 1990.
It also touches on the darker moments that shaped Gaultier, including the death of his partner, Francis Menuge, from complications from AIDS.
The show is set to open Oct. 2 at the Folies Pigalle theater in Paris.
There’s a fresh buzz at Paco Rabanne.
There are two-fold reasons: firstly, because the 1960s space age designs the Spanish-born designer was co-credited with popularizing are again ubiquitous on the Paris runways.
And secondly, momentum has been generated by a series of strong shows by the Puig-owned house’s current designer Julien Dossena.
In Thursday’s ambitious runway show, there was much to like.
The chainmail and disc link dresses that were signatures of the retired Basque couturier were referenced in golden discs on belts and pendants, and in one hot bejeweled chainmail wrap.
Complex designs with contrasting materials had a nice ornamented feel and conjured up references to the Renaissance in patterning and layering, and even to Imperial China.
Perforated lace collars and long baroque cuffs on a crisp white shirt cut a stylish silhouette with a heavy, glistening black slit skirt.
A tight black minidress with chain hanging had contrasting patterns in the skirt.
The only question is: might these looks be a little hard to wear on the street?