Sunday, October 7, 2007

Paris Fashion Week: flora, fauna, and fabulous finery

Stella McCartney, Dries van Noten, Alexander McQueen, and Valentino all made their presence known at Paris Fashion Week's pret-â-porter shows, which wrap up today—but the real star of the show was Mother Nature herself.

McCartney's show featured colorful wildflower prints shaped into minidresses, short coats, and even jumpsuits, taking the nature theme to a new level with hand-carved wooden clogs. Van Noten took an even bolder approach, presenting computer-manipulated images of irises, marigolds, and tropical foliage in contrasting patterns.

Always one to make a splash, McQueen (right) lit up the stage with a barrage of colorful exotic-bird-inspired creations, including full-length gowns that were hand-stitched with thousands of feathers. Topping off several of his looks were elaborate hats featuring silk butterflies and crystal dragonflies by avant-garde milliner Philip Treacy.

It was a sentimental event for Valentino, his last ready-to-wear show before he retires in early 2008, but his looks were as bright and bubbly as Paris itself. Models paraded down his runway in beautifully draped short dresses that ran the gamut from pink charmeuse to polka dots and in grandiose gowns featuring transparent lace and feathered hemlines.

As the last event of the Spring 2008 ready-to-wear runway season, Paris Fashion Week gave us a bright, bold, kaleidoscopic parade that heralds what is sure to be an equally inspiring season.


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