Paris Fashion Week: Couture shows wrap up

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The Paris couture shows wrapped up on Thursday at the end of four days of collections notable for come backs by designers Christian Lacroix and Viktor&Rolf and supermodel Naomi Campbell.

Drawing cheers as she appeared on the catwalk with models half her age, 43-year-old Campbell kicked off the first show for Versace in a black micro sequin jacket constructed like a book.

Dutch designers Viktor Horsting Rolf Snoeren, meanwhile, returned to Paris couture after an absence of 13 years with a collection that was more a platform for abstract and conceptual ideas than fashion showcase.

Fittingly, half the collection of 20 sculptural black looks has already been sold to an unnamed art collector, according to industry journal WWD.

But the highlight of the couture shows was undoubtedly a one-off return by French designer Christian Lacroix who presented a tribute to the late Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli.

Schiaparelli, who died in 1973, and her great rival Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel were among fashion’s most prominent figures between the two world wars.

The Schiaparelli house failed to adapt to post-war austerity, leading to its closure in 1954.

Partly presented on a rotating carousel of mirrors, Lacroix’s 18-piece “Homage to Elsa” collection for the relaunched house reinterpreted many of the designer’s influences such as fairgrounds, circuses and military uniforms.

In one circus-inspired piece, a pleated symmetric bustier and oversized skirt were teamed with an embroidered clown’s hat.

The dress required 40 metres (130 feet) of silk and 350 hours’ work.

But Lacroix — the one time darling of fashion editors who has dedicated himself to theatrical costumes since losing his own fashion house in 2009 — scotched any suggestion he might return permanently.

Asked if it was a possibility, he said: “No. What has always excited me about fashion is theatre costumes. My childhood dream — I am achieving it now.”

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