Dries Van Noten sparkles at Paris fashion



PARIS, Helen Rowe- Belgian designer Dries Van Noten sparkled on the second day of Paris fashion week Wednesday with a collection combining men's tailoring with glamorous feminine touches, as Swedish cheap chic giant H&M made a spectacular catwalk debut.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was among Van Noten's many admirers who applauded from the front row of the show held in the ornate surroundings of Paris's Hotel de Ville.



Image by Taxiarchos228; accessed via Wikipedia.
Image by Taxiarchos228; accessed via Wikipedia.
Looks included a boxy striped coat and scarf teamed with dark trousers and a delicate white blouse, and a red, white and blue flapper-style dress worn with a long polo neck sweater and brogues.
Elsewhere, tiering, ostrich feathers, sequins and sheer fabrics also gave many of the skirts and dresses a floaty, feminine feel.
"It was like all those female embellishments invading the menswear, that was a little bit the idea behind it," Van Noten told reporters backstage after the show.
"I just clash them together and see what happens, so you have a big grey men's coat and then start to throw little diamonds on it and little feathers and just see…. I think sometimes fashion is so serious," he said.
Meanwhile, H&M -- pledging to make an impact -- staged its first ever Paris catwalk show, hard on the heels of its Helen Hunt Oscar coup.
Best supporting actress nominee Hunt bucked the trend for haute couture by teaming an enormous diamond necklace with a strapless navy blue H&M gown at last Sunday's ceremony.
Arriving at Paris's Rodin Museum, hundreds of guests were led along a candlelit path to a vast marquee in which room after room had been transformed into what appeared to be a luxury hotel. The museum is dedicated to the works of French sculptor August Rodin.
Waiters served champagne as guests were guided through room after room: a hall with a grand piano; dining room with table laid out with china, crystal and silver candelabra; marble floored bathroom; chef filled hotel kitchen; library; and lobby with roaring log fire.
Black dominated the 25 mostly barely-there looks teamed with over-the-knee black boots and caps.
Standing out were a long floaty sheer red dress, pink ostrich feather skirt and black evening gown with 1930s style fringe.
All 25 are due to be in the shops by September.
And then it was back to the hotel, as H&M head of design Ann-Sofie Johansson and her team of designers took a bow and the decor slid back to reveal a laser disco, to whoops of joy from enthusiastic fashionistas and pounding music.
H&M has seen rapid recent expansion, including in China, with over 2,500 stores worldwide by the end of May 2012. Last year it opened stores in new markets Bulgaria, Mexico, Latvia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Paris is playing host to nearly 90 autumn/winter 2013 ready-to-wear collections and presentations over nine days, wrapping up on March 6.
The highlight of the week is expected on Thursday when New York star Alexander Wang holds his first show for Balenciaga, the illustrious avant-garde fashion house founded in 1919 and now one of the jewels in the crown of the PPR luxury group.
Wang, one of the hottest names in US fashion who also has his own label, was announced last December as the replacement for Nicolas Ghesquiere whose surprise departure came after 15 years with the French fashion house.
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Thursday, February 28th 2013
Helen Rowe
           


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