Cosmetics giant L’Oreal transforms the Champs-Elysees into a dazzling open-air fashion runway for a one-off event, and Stella McCartney’s accomplished collection channeled ’80s fun
Paris -- Jane Fonda and Helen Mirren were the toast of Paris as the two septuagenarian actresses modeled for L’Oreal. The cosmetics giant transformed the Champs-Elysees avenue into a dazzling open-air fashion runway for a one-off event Sunday.
Other sought-after Hollywood actresses flew into the French capital to see the collection marking a new chapter of a storied fashion house.
Designer Clare Waight Keller’s debut show for Givenchy was one of the hottest tickets at this month’s Paris Fashion Week. Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Julianne Moore were in the audience. The actresses marveled at the seductive monochrome and flashes of color, applauding from the front row.
Boundless ideas peppered with 1980s fun was the expansive spirit behind Stella McCartney’s accomplished collection Monday at Paris Fashion Week that had celebrities, such as Jerry Seinfeld, on the front row tapping their feet to the thumping music.
Here are some highlights of Sunday and Monday’s spring-summer ready-to-wear collections.
Givenchy’s new chapter
In a season of debuts, Givenchy’s was surely the crowning show.
In a testament to its continuing prestige, the Parisian house was granted rare permission to hold its spring-summer show Sunday inside the secretive stone walls of the Palace of Justice, the former royal palace on the Seine River where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before the guillotine.
The palace’s grand stone steps were wrapped for the occasion in a regal wrought iron shell — with “GIVENCHY” glimmering in gold above a gate.
Inside, celebrities and fashion critics held court. Filmmaker Pedro Almodovor, whose white Givenchy shoes matched his bright white hair, chatted animatedly with Moore, who matched in a stylish white tuxedo. Blanchett and Mara, both dressed head to toe in black, applauded vigorously as the collection’s 68 pieces went by.
“I’m very excited,” Mara said.
“It was extraordinary … The sleeves, and the fabrics, and the subtle use of color,” Blanchett said. “I’m excited for women and I’m really excited for Givenchy … She’s just taken it to a whole new level.”
Waight Keller debut
In a hand-written note signed “Clare,” Givenchy’s new designer gave guests some hints at her styling.
“Seduction is key. The most seductive things are not seen, but merely imagined,” she wrote.
This subtle yet powerful mantra was used with grace by the British designer who created a collection of fluttery, sensual gowns that moved the once-dark, brooding house into distinctly more feminine terrain.
Black and white were the touchstones as the display began with a printed silk dress with frothy panels around the shoulder and the leg. A blurry three-leaf clover motif shifted sizes. The visual confusion captured perfectly this sense of seduction, as it did away with the body contours beneath and left the spectator guessing.
In another stylish printed gown, a shoulder was exposed with uneven segments of silk gently cascading down the body. In a midnight blue peaked shoulder coat, color was introduced with a sexy, sheer décolleté and a ’70s jabot collar.
For men, a shimmering metallic tuxedo led the looks that signaled that Waight Keller aims to lead the house in a saleable, more classical direction.
L’Oreal and McDonald’s
Tourists munching hamburgers on the first floor of the Champs-Elysees MacDonald’s couldn’t believe their luck as they peered down with a perfect view of one of Paris Fashion Week’s most anticipated events.
L’Oreal transformed the Champs-Elysees into a one-off outside runway — enlisting 18 fashion houses, as well as countless stars and models to showcase clothes, makeup and hair trends.
The beauty giant billed it as a “once-in-a-fashion lifetime celebration.”
“It’s amazing,” purred model Irina Shayk backstage against the backdrop of the Arc de Triomphe.
Seventy looks from French design houses such as Balmain, Giambattista Valli and Isabel Marant were showcased to thumping music and cheered on by a VIP audience including supermodel Naomi Campbell.
But the biggest stars, for once, were on the runway.
Jane Fonda, 79, provoked screams from onlookers as she became the oldest model to walk the runway this Paris season — blowing out air-kisses in a figure-hugging bronze zebra dress and stopping at one point to hug Campbell in the audience.
“Well, it was exciting. It’s hard to believe I just did that on the Champs Elysees,” Fonda said after her turn as a model. “I liked it very much. I did not fall over.”
Helen Mirren, 72, also garnered excitement, walking down with bright red lips in a tailored royal blue coat and a cane that she theatrically waved.
Celebrating diversity and “beauty for everyone,” was the mantra of the luxury show that also featured normal-sized models.
Stella takes on the ’80s
British-American designer McCartney slashed a bubblegum pink disco-debutante dress in taffeta at the bottom — giving it a surreal shrunken effect — and paired it with billowing pants that make the model’s legs disappear.
It was deceptively simple, like many of the 39 looks in the fastidiously-constructed display Monday in Paris. A loose green silk gown was jazzed up with a visually-kinetic African print of microphone and all held in place by a single shoulder ruffle.
Elsewhere, the unadulterated — and intentionally — bad taste of the ’80s was in vogue.
An over-dyed washed jumpsuit, in a denim series, came in acid green that gave one particular guest a feeling of deja-vu.
“There were some throwbacks to me, to the ’80s. Acid green and yellow denim. I’m sure I had a jacket that color,” said singer Kylie Minogue, 49, who first found fame in that decade of fashion excess.
Seinfeld makes appearance
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a relative stranger to the fashion industry, flew in to Paris for the Stella McCartney show.
The comedian, who’s been friends with the fashion designer for several years, joked that he might use the foibles of the industry as new material for his comedy.
“Of course, I can use anything I want. Always taking notes,” he told The Associated Press.
The 63-year-old rocked the front row in a dapper suit jacket and stylish glasses, alongside Minogue, British singer Ellie Goulding and the U.S. singing group Haim.
Seinfeld, who said he’s “always busy,” said he was happy to open up his archives for Netflix’s one-hour special called “Jerry before Seinfeld.”
“People are enjoying it, so it’s a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s my first time on this platform.”
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