Moss upstages Vuitton hotel, capping fashion week
On the last day of Paris ready-to-wear shows, if Miuccia Prada was about fun and Elie Saab the familiar, then Louis Vuitton was about Kate Moss.
Marc Jacobs, Vuitton's creative director, delivered a no-expenses-spared production to cap fall-winter fashion season in five-star style.
The showman recreated an entire hotel floor inside the Louvre, replete with sprawling carpet, nostalgic lounge piano and do-not-disturb signs - what he called "decadent glamor."
The glamor-factor was certainly there in the roll call of top actresses lining the front row, including Jessica Chastain, January Jones and Naomi Watts.
But somehow in just a two-minute cameo Moss - possibly the world's most famous model - managed to upstage not only an A-list front row but also an entire hotel.
The super-waif 39-year-old provoked instant applause as she appeared in a provocatively revealing organza slip dress from behind one of the closed hotel doors, and was mobbed by journalists backstage.
Trends this season included black and white with flashes of color, leather and fur, eighties and fifties silhouettes, and more ladylike styles with a combative edge.
Louis Vuitton moved in a more feminine, sensual direction for fall-winter.
"It was about intimacy, the mystery of what's going on behind the door," Jacobs said. "It's Hollywood mixed with rive gauche."
Accordingly, models in `50s wigs slinked out of a dozen hotel doors wearing satin dresses resembling slips. A bathrobe made from a man's coat followed a crepe dress made with motifs of an undergarment.
The numerous long fur coats - some of the most luxurious seen this season -provided the glam-factor. Mink coats dyed in two tones and murky-colored astrakhan were stand outs - as well as crocodile bags lined with sheared mink, lashings of marabou feathers and hand-curled goose feathers.
"All sorts of creatures were lying around in embroidered form," joked Jacobs, who may indeed be responsible for emptying a local zoo.
Menswear touches like a button-less tailored jacket or the pajama print reined in the more overtly feminine lingerie looks, ensuring a nice overall balance.
But the show was also about Kate Moss.
Jacobs, who conducted interviews backstage in red pajamas, said the show grew from his close friendship with Moss, and years of dressing her up in hotel rooms.
Last season's boxy and printed looks were gone for Miu Miu's fall-winter 2013-14 show.
In their place was a more inventive collection that featured outerwear as dresses, large-sized buttons and giant handbags.
Flashes of color in `50s polka dot neckties, stripy tights and Belle Epoque boots in gold and silver gave the collection for Miuccia Prada's baby sister offshoot a great lift.
Dresses made with quilted coat fabric, sometimes with large buttons and long zippers, saw Prada putting her own quirky stamp on an outerwear-to-innerware trend that's on high rotation on the catwalk of late.
The piece de resistance was a one-meter (three-foot) handbag that had spectators gawking.
As models appeared through autumnal mist, Elie Saab's daywear picked up a hint of androgyny this fall-winter.
It was a relatively experimental start that saw the Lebanese designer deliver some sexy looks that could almost have been worn to the office.
Menswear tailoring on a gray and blue dress carried on in several pared-down looks with a slimmer silhouette than last season, created with a more restrained color wheel.
The whiff of masculinity soon faded, however, in a series of the Lebanese designer's popular bread-and-butter gowns with sequins, transparencies and broderie anglaise in primrose yellow, burgundy and dark green.
It was a collection of no great surprises, that's likely to please his core clientele base.
The late, great Madeline Vionnet was one of the 20th century's most influential fashion designers. Known as the "queen of the bias cut," she was famed for her draped Grecian column dresses.
Seven decades later, her house has been revamped and showed its ready-to-wear collection on Paris' official calendar Wednesday.
The problem with revamping old, storied houses is that the new designers can often feel strangled by the codes.
Wednesday's show saw creative director Goga Ashkenazi going in almost the opposite direction.
Though she fleetingly touched on some draped looks with Grecian columns for a set, Ashkenazi channeled the vivid colors of pop art's Roy Lichtenstein. It was a show with a distinct `80s vibe in severely folded coats and dresses.
"The history is tremendous. But we wanted to move it a step forward and see the modern interpretation," Ashkenazi said.
There were some neat looks, like a thick ribbed high-necked sweater in blue. However, some of the vaguely bias-cut shaped furs that were assembled together made the collection feel like it needed further developing.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http://Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP