February 23rd, 2024

Jennifer Lopez shimmies, and Elie Saab shimmers, at the Paris spring couture shows

By Thomas Adamson, The Associated Press on January 24, 2024.

Models wait backstage prior to the Franck Sorbier Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2024 collection presented in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

PARIS (AP) – As the Paris spring couture shows entered their third day, Jennifer Lopez ensured that the power of runway designs were matched by the power of a VIP audience. The singer and actress energized the Palais de Tokyo, arriving at the last minute for Elie Saab’s show amid pandemonium. She and other fashion insiders witnessed a silken display of the Lebanese designer’s work evoking the complexity of North African medinas.

Haute couture – the fashion industry’s ideas factory – is the age-old tradition of producing exorbitantly priced, made-to-measure garments for the world’s richest women.

Here are highlights of Wednesday’s displays:

ARABESQUE MOTIFS OF SPRING

With an embellished floral cape and daring décolleté, Lopez marveled – and occasionally shimmied – from the Saab front row as vibrant beats accompanied the shimmering ode to Marrakech.

This season, Saab did not reinvent the wheel, nor did he intend to. This was classic couture – in sandstone tulle, sky-like lilac, blush cloud pink and dappled pastels – with arabesque motifs on golden foliage. Floor-sweeping chiffon and crepe gowns had a timeless feel, without a nod to seasonal trends.

Guests snapped photos as a giant blush full skirt in the shape of an upside-down tulip swept by, covered with hundreds of delicately embroidered three-dimensional flowers.

Elsewhere, the collection wove in playful elements like a fusion of traditional kimono techniques with the draped elegance found in classic Arab clothing.

As the grand finale gown made its entrance, the line between showstopper and spectacle blurred. The breathtaking bridal gown, with an embroidered train stretching meters long, captivated all. But in a telling sign of today’s couture landscape, it was uncertain whether the camera-wielding guests were more enthralled by the exquisite craftsmanship – or just Lopez’s reaction to it.

NAKAZATO’S “˜BLOOD WEDDING’

In a display that could be described as a theatrical “blood wedding,” Yuima Nakazato’s latest couture show intentionally left an eerie feeling. A model, a swan-like apparition, waded through a lake of blood-colored liquid, her diaphanous gown absorbing the vibrant hue and trailing a crimson path down the runway. This was high couture drama.

Nakazato, known for his boundary-pushing creativity, delved into the darker realms of fashion for spring. A model adorned with armor-like neck clasps, tears streaming from his eyes, sported a ruched devore gown that fused the high-priestly with a warrioresque Middle Earth aesthetic.

Ethereal silhouettes met sustainable innovation, with garments crafted from textile waste, embodying Nakazato’s commitment to eco-conscious fashion. Traditional Japanese techniques were evident in kimono-inspired draping.

Nature-inspired color palettes were often abandoned for darker hues, reflecting a mood of otherworldly charm. The showpiece – a coarse knit web-like top embellished with metal coins – echoed Nakazato’s flair for sculptural jewelry and other dramatic accessories. Paired with a deconstructed, paneled check jacket, it evoked samurai armor, a nod to both traditional craftsmanship and avant-garde aesthetics.

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