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FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

London - With Paris Fashion Week for Spring/Summer ‘18 come to an end, the four main international women’s wear ready to wear Fashion Weeks have officially closed. As the industry’s leading insiders travelled from New York to London, Milan and Paris to see fashion houses and designers vision for SS ‘18, the recent of the world followed from afar. What is shown on the catwalks always influences what we will wear over the next coming season, but what are some of the key trends to emerge from the SS’18 international fashion weeks? FashionUnited’s own editors select their favourite trend from each fashion week and share them with you below.

Fringing at New York Fashion Week - Jackie Mallon

The reemergence of fringe at New York Fashion Week as a leading trend for Spring/Summer ‘18 seems so undeniably right. Raf Simons’s tangled shreds of Americana for Calvin Klein represent how many are feeling in the U.S. about where the country is headed. His finale dresses symbolized the current challenge of holding it together despite the apparent chaos and good old American optimism.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

Similarly, at Monse, the red, white, and blue was slashed and collaged into collegiate wear. A shower of fringe enriched the back of an Edun trench coat (preempting Loewe’s fringe-hemmed one shown a week later in Paris.) At Diane von Furstenberg, it edged a plunging décollete and swirled from satin, recalling images of the designer’s fellow Studio 54 dancing queen, Liza Minelli, and it turned flapper-ish when swinging from lace and dipped in shades of watermelon at Marchesa, undulating from the slinky curves of a modern-day Daisy Buchanan.

Embedded in American popular culture fringe evokes the suede-clad cowboy, the Bob Mackie-attired Cher, and the white-cloaked Elvis. Its perennial appeal seems to be that it can be unapologetically loud, slightly mesmerizing, always in motion and even politically engaged. Just like the modern American woman.

The Return of Ruffles at London Fashion Week - Danielle Wightman-Stone

Ruffles were one of autumn/winter 2017’s biggest trends and it seems that fashion isn’t done with them yet as they were seen across the spring/summer 2018 London Fashion Week shows, and what I loved is there is no such thing as a subtle ruffle, only drama and romance.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

At Simone Roche, it was all about the dramatic and most romantic of ruffles, with frills so big that they were collapsing to the floor. While at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi ruffles added an edge to asymmetrical gowns in pastel hues that were delicate and girlie, and emerging designer Ryan Lo used ruffles to give his accessories a romantic touch, with frills seen on long-sleeved evening globes and socks.

The most beautiful of all ruffles came at Erdem, with the Canadian-born designer showcasing waterfall ruffle inspired by Her Majesty, while at David Koma the ruffles had an architectural edge, and Roksanda added oversized ruffles to her statement cuffs. There were also dresses and skirts created entirely from puckered ruffles at Christopher Kane that were designed to resemble a mop as inspired by his SS '18 muse, the ‘domestic goddess’.

Milan Fashion Week Rocks the Socks - Vivian Hendriksz

Milan Fashion Week saw a plethora of fashion houses embracing maximalism as designers revelled in all the excessiveness of fashion. One of the leading trends to emerge from the catwalks these past few seasons, this feeling of ‘overmuchness’ has trickled its way into all aspects of fashion - even down to one of the most common and most functional garments of all - the sock. First spotted at London Fashion Week at designers including Burberry and Erdem, the designer sock trend skipped its way to Milan, putting to bed the feared Dad sock and sandal combo for good.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

For Spring/Summer ‘18 designers including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Gucci, Fendi and Marco De Vincenzo completed their looks with dazzling socks fit for a queen - or king. Although this trend of pairing socks with closed (or open) heels for a lady-like appeal is nothing new, for SS ‘18 designers injected a sense of drama into their sock pairings, which I love as it gives new life to a garment previously overlooked. At Dolce & Gabbana, red carpet dresses and transparent suits were complemented with matching lace knee-high socks for maximum impact.

Over at Prada, who is long promoted the sock and court shoe pairing, creative director Miuccia Prada continued her sock love affair by raising the bar and pairing knee-high socks with striped shorts, pointy slingbacks and fringed brogues. Karl Lagerfeld took sock matching to the next level for Fendi and send models down the catwalk in plaid socks, producing a full-on stripe-on-stripe look. A few socks reached past the ankles and up to the thighs, which offered a touch of playfulness when paired with sheer dresses.

At Gucci, socks seemed almost plain compared to Alessandro embellished looks, but a closer look revealed ribbed or ruffled edges, while Marco De Vincenzo colour coordinated his fish-net ankle socks with matching heels. This trend certainly places the humble sock in a new light, reminding us that even the smallest details can make or break an outfit. In addition, it also offers consumers more accessible designer item, something that can be worn every day.

Paris Fashion Week goes 'Full Bloom' - Don-Alvin Adegeest

Decoding Paris Fashion Week can be a little like deciphering hieroglyphics, with designers this season showing a complex narrative of fashion in the digital age. It is as if designers have an acute awareness the companies they represent are facing challenging global times, and the collections this season, when decoded on a product level, were highly wearable and commercial.

FashionUnited's Top 4 Trends from Fashion Weeks

The Spring/Summer ‘18 collections brought a renewed focus on femininity and we saw everything from the seductive little black dress to full floral gowns, the latter a key trend across the Paris shows. Designers appeared to be in full bloom, with Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten and Nicolas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton, all boldly showing floral patterns, top to toe, with prints seemingly borrowed from your grandmother’s wardrobe.

What I love about this trend is its optimism and romanticism. Last season there may have been a mood borderlining on despair; this season designers were focused on bringing us joy, uniting in resilience and looking to the future. For evening, floral dresses were neither frumpy nor too technical - like at Sacai and Louis Vuitton - where the gowns were soft and fluid, often with a cascade of ruffles, also seen at Ronald van der Kemp. Dresses were easy to fall in love with, an achievement not to be dismissed in this day and age of too much product where nobody ‘needs’ to shop.

Dries van Noten embraced the trend most vigorously and was one of my favourite shows of Paris fashion week. There were a plethora of options of the floral variety, from a bold and bright yellow lily print, accentuated with sparkly starfish and checked sleeves to a wallpaper floral bomber that could have been a furnishing or interiors print, worn with abstract printed short and boots. Van Noten himself stated after the show, “We always say that fashion is a reflection of our times. Well, maybe that’s of enough of that!”

Photos: Catwalkpictures

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

With Paris Fashion Week coming to an end Tuesday, here's a look at the five big takeaways from the catwalks.

Frills

The future will be frilly. Sparingly deployed on the diagonal or in a whole flotilla of volant skirts and dresses, frills are back as a major trend for next spring and summer.

Once a symbol of frivolous, even enslaved, femininity, they have been reinterpreted by the likes of Stella McCartney and Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy as symbols of power and confidence.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

While they have been creeping back out of the cupboard for a while, frills ruffled through almost every show this past week, from the punky glamour of Alexander McQueen to the slick styling of Giambattista Valli, from edgy Sacai to avant-garde Comme des Garcons.

Black and white

Black and white isn't so much a trend for next spring and summer as the rule. Although pastels and strong colours traditionally dominate the spring/summer collections, this year many brands have not looked much beyond the two-tone essentials of black and white.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

The list of those who have gone binary is long: sexy Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Off-White, Balmain, Mugler, Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Ann Demeulemeester, Paco Rabanne and Yohji Yamamoto. Silvery greys are also in, with Nina Ricci, Paco Rabanne and Vanessa Seward using them to great effect.

Big no longer beautiful

Oversize is over, cut down to size by a sharp return to tailoring. For the last two years the catwalks have been awash with sulking teenagers hiding in their hoodies. But with the enormous coats and trailing-trousers look now filtering down to the high street, fashion is off again in another direction.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week has been remarkable for bringing clothes back to the body, with a much closer cut to shake off the studied shapelessness of the last few seasons. With Rick Owens, the Los Angeles maverick who took oversize to extremes, cutting his cloth much tighter, only Celine held to thinking big.

Even Virgil Abloh, the en vogue American designer at Off-White so beloved by rap stars, has embraced the well-cut power suit, sending out Naomi Campbell in a double-breasted white jacket with cycling shorts.

Cycle shorts and polo shirts

Cycling shorts are another mini-trend, with Saint Laurent, Chloe and Y/Project joining the peloton of houses highlighting a look apparently pioneered by Kim Kardashian.

With Lacoste quitting New York for the Paris catwalk, there is no holding sportswear's onward march. Louis Vuitton sent out almost all of its 46 looks in trainers, and matched silk sports shorts with highly embroidered 18th-century-style tailcoats.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

But when the smart French label Koche sent out a series of re-imagined Paris Saint-Germain tops, it seemed like fashion had finally surrendered to the football shirt-wearing masses.

Despite the pearls and the exquisite detailing, there was still something of a sharp intake of breath -- was a style Rubicon being crossed here? Christelle Kocher, the Koche designer who also heads up Lemarie, which specialises in feathers and other haute couture fripperies, managed to stay just about onside by successfully feminising a garment with such a pungent whiff of maleness.

Yet it was another item from the male locker that really got designers' juices going, as Lacoste turned its emblematic polo shirts into trailing and asymmetric dresses, with the neck pulled over to play up a bare shoulder.

Reworked polos popped up too at highly influential Celine, Atlein, Carven and Y/Project where Glenn Martens also pulled Bermuda shorts way upmarket.

Scintillating prints

Summer wouldn't be summer without print dresses and skirts. This year, however, they are particularly easy on the eye. One expects nothing less than the sublime from the prince of prints Dries Van Noten, and the Flemish master did not disappoint. But Akris, the biggest Swiss brand you've never heard of, won still more hearts with theirs.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

But it was Liselore Frowijn's futuristic visions of African wax prints, Junya Watanabe's punky take on Marimekko textiles and Comme des Garcons' Arcimboldo dress which printed themselves on the memory.

And finally... -

Among the ingenious oddities of the week were Balenciaga and Chanel's handbag overcoats, little poncho parachutes to protect purses that can cost the price of a secondhand car.

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week

Both brands also attempted the seemingly impossible, trying to make Crocs sandals (Balenciaga) and plastic see-through macs (Chanel) objects of desire. History will decide. (AFP)

The 5 top trends at Paris Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Homepage photo: Dior S/S18; Nicole Maria Winkler for Dior

Photos in order: Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Junya Watanabe, Balenciaga - from Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

Karl Lagerfeld built a huge waterfall and flooded the vast Grand Palais for his spectacular Chanel show Tuesday, the final day of Paris Fashion Week.

The veteran designer sent out an army of "water nymphs" and modish mermaids in glittering white and blue-green outfits along a catwalk that snaked over a 85-metre-long recreation of the Gorges du Verdon in the mountains of Provence, where Chanel grows the jasmine and May rose flowers that go into its perfumes.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

This was the life aquatic with big raindrop earrings, scalloped skirts, jellyfish and glitterball bags, and dripping mother of pearl dresses that created their own personal rainbows in the shimmering light. Yet what no one could take their eyes off were the thigh-high transparent PVC boots.

If the Duchess of Cambridge or Kim Kardashian need to look elegant the next time they go fishing for pike, Lagerfeld has just the waders for them. In fact the German-born creator went PVC crazy, throwing in enough see-through rain hats, hoods and even elbow-length evening gloves to keep his well-heeled customers dry during a hurricane.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

Louis Vuitton's new aristos

But for sheer jaw-dropping impact, the shrewd American avant-gardist Thom Browne pulled the plug on Chanel's 15-metre waterfalls with his first women's show in Paris.

In a week when models' size came under the microscope after Kering and LVMH, the two big luxury conglomerates, banned ultrathin models from their shows, Browne sent out fatsuit dresses resembling the fleshy forms of the ancient Anatolian mother goddess, Cybele, and the "Hottentot Venus".

The fact that both models were in ballet pointes added another layer of magical strangeness. It was the first of many Wow moments in a show that began with "dream weavers", their heads encased in bubbles of tulle, preparing the way for his postmodern mermaids, preppies who might have come straight from "The Munsters" and alieniod creations that gave new meaning to turtleneck.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

It ended with a unicorn and a couple of the dream weavers sleeping in a bed next to the rings of Saturn. No such silliness at Louis Vuitton, the label of preference for France's first lady Brigitte Macron. In keeping with her husband's monarchical bent, designer Nicolas Ghesquiere channelled Versailles with ancien regime 18th-century tailcoats which he matched with silk sports shorts.

While these richly embroidered tops were in the palace, feet were firmly in the street with trainer-style shoes to complement the brand's rock-chic sports and evening wear.

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW

That the starry show, with Hollywood stars Cate Blanchett and Julianne Moore in the front row, took place under the Louvre Museum in the moat of the medieval seat of the French kings, reinforcing the message that these were clothes for the new elite. (AFP)

Chanel goes aquatic as Vuitton channels regime rock chic at PFW The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photos: Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week

Paris - Karl Lagerfeld built a huge waterfall and flooded the vast Grand Palais for his spectacular Chanel show Tuesday on the final day of Paris Fashion Week.

The veteran designer sent out an army of "water nymphs" and modish mermaids in glittering white and blue-green outfits along a catwalk that snaked over a 85-metre-long recreation of the Gorges du Verdon in the mountains of Provence, where Chanel grows the jasmine and May rose flowers that go into its perfumes.

This was the life aquatic with big raindrop earrings, scalloped skirts, jellyfish and glitterball bags and dripping mother of pearl dresses that created their own personal rainbows in the shimmering light. Yet the thing that no one could take their eyes off were the thigh-high transparent PVC boots.

If the Duchess of Cambridge or Kim Kardashian ever need to look elegant when they go fishing for trout, Lagerfeld has just the waders for them. In fact the German-born creator went PVC crazy, throwing in enough see-through rain hats, hoods and even elbow length evening gloves to keep his well-heed customers dry during a hurricane.

Karl goes for Generation Z

Scared of being caught by a sudden summer shower in your 10,000 dress US dollars? Lagerfeld had just the thing -- plastic see-through crystal-encrusted raincoats and capes, although much more sophisticated and expensive than the ones your granny would slip into her trolley bag on a thundery day.

Like Balenciaga, the other aristocratic brand that this week sought to bring Crocs sandals rapidly upmarket, Lagerfeld too seemed out on a mission to rehabilitate the much maligned see-though mac. Led by Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber, Lagerfeld defied talk about his advanced age by sending out 88 looks -- which may or not have been a sly joke about his age.

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week

The creator, who sometimes admits to being 84, was embracing youth in a big way, with a collection aimed strongly at millennials and Generation Z trendsetters as much as Chanel's ladies-who-lunch custom base. Lagerfeld was even thinking ahead to Generation Alpha by putting his eight-year-old godson Hudson Kroenig -- who made his catwalk debut way back in 2012 -- on the runway.

With an eye clearly on Chanel's growing Asian following he had two huge South Korean K-pop stars, G-Drago -- sporting fire-engine red hair -- and actress and singer Park Shin-Hye in the front row alongside supermodel mother Crawford blushing with pride.

Agnes b, an institution of a more understated idea of French chic who also has a huge Asian fanbase, stuck to dry land in her show. Her spring summer collection featured a line of highly practical safari suits and striking print dresses, trousers and shorts suits to lift her classic black and white combos which this time included a black, white and sky-blue print wedding dress. (AFP)

Photo: Chanel SS18, Catwalkpictures

Chanel goes for PVC transparency at Paris Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.
Shock as platform Crocs step out on Paris catwalk

Paris fashion was reeling Sunday from Balenciaga's latest outrage/stroke of genius -- platform Crocs. The luxury brand, which hit the headlines in April with its 2,000 USD (1,700-euro) blue leather "Ikea" bags, has raised eyebrows again by sending out five pairs of the comfortable, indestructible but undeniably ugly sandals in its spring summer collection.

"I'm sorry am I hallucinating or did I just see platform Crocs from Balenciaga?" tweeted Tyler McCall of the Fashionista website. Another Fashionista critic, Alyssa Vingan Klein, added, "There are platform Crocs at Balenciaga. This is not a drill..."

Balenciaga's iconoclast designer Demna Gvasalia is known for seeing the beauty in the banal, with some critics accusing him of "poverty chic" -- remaking the clothes of the poor for the rich. But he has a formidable track record of making hugely hot clothes -- and particularly shoes -- that taste forgot.

A post shared by Balenciaga (@balenciaga) on

His thigh-high Spandex boots have become a style sensation, worn and adored by celebrities and fashion mavens alike. The wunderkind has, however, a job on his hands with Crocs, which as one joke goes, have holes in them "so your dignity can leak out". "Ugly" shoes like Crocs and Birkenstocks have nonetheless been quietly coming up in the world.

Last year the Scottish designer Christopher Kane produced a 500-euro (590 USD) line of fur-lined and crystal-encrusted Crocs. While Vogue adored their comfort, critic Julia Hobbs said there was no getting over that "Crocs are ugly".

'Unrivalled ability to repel'

"They have nostril-like pores, and an upturned snout... When worn by grown-ups they have an unrivalled ability to repel onlookers and induce sneers," Hobbs added. Not content with attempting to rehabilitate Crocs, Gvasalia, the man behind the uber-cool Vetements label, also transformed fringed sun umbrellas into skirts and shop awnings into trousers in his Paris show.

This collection, however, was more slick than shocking, with very smart use of tartan in trousers, and tops and skirts often paired with chain straps taken from souvenir and duty free shops. "The inherent possibilities" and the "exaggeration of everyday styles... is the design impulse" behind the show, he wrote in his show notes.

Pants made from three different trousers spliced together made a reappearance, suggesting they are on their way to becoming a Gvasalia staple alongside thigh-high boots and buttoned-up charity shop shirts.

A post shared by gypsy_gypzo (@gypsy_gypzo) on

Alterability too was built into several garments, with parts of the pants interchangeable like modular tracksuits. His new punky "super-spiked stilettoes" also seemed to go down well. Other trousers printed with screensaver shots of the Alps may have been a nod to his new home in Zurich, whose hardcore unfashionableness he seems to relish.

But there were also small hints that Gvasalia's notoriety and the hilarity sparked by his Ikea tote -- and another that closely resembled a cheap Thai shopping bag -- might be hemming him in.

Givenchy's new elegance

In one look, a sweater was tied around a newspaper print blouse like a straitjacket. Yet the Georgian-born creator remains impossible to pin down and as full of surprises as ever. The man who likes to borrow, tweak and hijack seemed to be paying backhanded homage this time to the print king Dries Van Noten in some of the rich palate of colours he used, which oozed a class befitting Balenciaga's aristocratic roots.

All eyes Sunday were also on the debut of designer Clare Waight Keller at Givenchy after her move from Chloe. In the end her transition was very much like the lady herself, low-key and classy.

"Seduction is key," she the British-born creator. "The most selective things are not seen, but merely imagined." And that subtlety of thought made for a collection that seemed to give the brand back its quiet but assured elegance. Fellow Brit Phoebe Philo at Celine, another designer whose lead others follow, came up with a trenchcoat that doubled as a cape under which you could keep your bag dry.

Shock as platform Crocs step out on Paris catwalk The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photo: Balenciaga, Catwalkpictures

With insults being traded almost daily between Washington and Pyongyang, Koreans could be forgiven for feeling they are dancing on the edge of a geo-political volcano these days. Yet South Korea could not be more hip.

The political tension on the peninsula has done nothing to dull the huge international success of South Korean K-pop singers who dominate the charts in much of Asia and beyond.

The country has also become a style destination for thousands of young Chinese visitors eager to copy the looks of their K-pop idols, with top luxury brands like Dior and Chanel competing to clothe them. With the country's cosmetics industry also booming, South Korea's fashion houses are now daring to dream big.

Young K-fashion designers hope to cash in on the style-icon status of K-pop stars to compete with Japanese labels, which have long been Asian fashion's big hitters. Unlike Japan, where brands such as Comme des Garcons, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto are global names, few Korean labels have made an impact beyond their shores.

This weekend the Seoul government brought five of its rising talents to show at Paris Fashion Week as part of its "K-Fashion Project" charm offensive that has already made stops in New York, Beijing and Shanghai. "We Koreans are very fashion conscious. We love fashion," Ju Tae Jin of the Korea Research Institute for Fashion Industry told AFP before the show in the French capital.

Seoul's hip street fashion

"The young designers have grown up in that environment and they know how to interpret street fashion into their design DNA. They are very dynamic and they are very good at presenting themselves on social media," she said. Ju said that Korean designers were particularly gifted for their amusing take on streetwear, with Seoul giving Tokyo a run for its money in terms of youth style.

That fizzy creativity came across most in the five designers showing in the French capital late Saturday. "I wonder what the fashion people here will think of the collection," said Kathleen Kye, whose designs have been worn by K-pop star G-Dragon, leader of the group BIGBANG. "So yes, it is quite important to me."

A graduate of London's prestigious Central Saint Martins, she launched her own label Kye in 2011, and is one of the better known names taking part in Seoul Fashion week later this month. The five featured brands, who were chosen from around 100 up-and-coming designers, are also having their clothes featured at the Colette store in Paris, a temple for fashionistas.

Kye's highly coloured streetwear collection was inspired by superstitions and fortune-telling -- both popular Korean obsessions. Her tops scattered with stars and the seams embroidered with silver pearls, sell from for around 80 euros ($95) with jackets going for 400.

'Phono sapiens'

Eunae Cho has an altogether different thing brewing. She called her collection Tibaeg ( "teabag" in Englsh) -- with tea-leaf prints and green as her signature colour.

Using light-as-a-feather glittery synthetic organzas and flower embroidery, she rethought the long flowing traditional Korean hanbok dress, as well as sending some rather dramatic pleated pants done the catwalk.

The 36-year-old started her own brand in 2011 after leaving Yonsei university in Seoul and her clothes have since been sold in Los Angeles, Canada, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Singapore. Sporting a French beret, tattoos and sunglasses, Bumsuk Choi the creator behind the General Idea label, cuts a very different figure.

His rise has been a lot less conventional. He left school at 17 "because I needed to make money" and learned to sew in a factory. He made his first T-shirts at 20 and "cried I was so stressed... It's quite a different story from people that have a lot of money and go to fashion schools," he said.

Two decades later after showing his clever and quirky creations at New York Fashion Week on his own bat, he has made inroads in Milan, Hong Kong, the United States, China and France. He has a clean and distinctive style and likes to link the new millennial generation with the hippies of the 1960s -- just with "added IT" -- jokingly calling them the "phono sapiens" because of how they live through their phones. (AFP)

Vivienne Westwood hosts 'spectacularly idiosyncratic show' at PFW

Flamboyant fashion designer Vivienne Westwood revealed the secret of her eternal youth Saturday -- only taking a bath once a week. The 76-year-old queen of punk fashion let it slip after watching her husband Andreas Kronthaler's spectacularly idiosyncratic show at Paris Fashion Week.

Asked by reporters how she managed to look so young, Westwood smiled and said, "Don't wash too much." "She only takes a bath every week. That's why she looks so radiant," said Kronthaler, who Westwood has described as "the world's greatest designer".

"I only wash once a month," joked the Austrian-born creator, who is 25 years Westwood's junior. Westwood, an environmentalist and vegetarian who has campaigned against the meat trade depleting water supplies, has previously said that "I just wash my bits and rush out in the morning and more often than not get in the bath after Andreas."

Kronthaler -- who is said to have inspired comedian Sacha Baron Cohen's 2009 fashion satire "Bruno" -- lived up to his reputation for decadent excess in his Paris show which featuring no less than 68 looks and a dozen more human sculptures wrapped in duvets.

"There is nothing better than giving people choice," he told AFP of a collection he said was filled with "lust, desire, sex and sadness. "We travelled quite a bit this summer and I tried to put it all into it."

Named dresses after cows

He said he spent some of his time on holiday in a Tyrolean cowshed and named the dresses in his collection after the cows. One outfit is called Vivienne after a calf his wife helped deliver. Two others are called Naomi and Donatella, two names more redolent of the runway than alpine pastures.

"Now I am ready for something different... I cannot wait to get my hands on the next mess," Kronthaler added. The designer said his Austrian country childhood with its corsets and traditional drindl dresses was the springboard for his at times wildly experimental collection that included two models wearing a set of curtains complete with rails.

A painted satin dress fit for a Chinese empress, however, drew spontaneous applause from the front row. "Folklore gets a bad name but we should use tradition," Kronthaler said. "I had a completely secluded safe and happy life growing up, and when that is embedded in you, you go through life in that way. If you can give someone the chance to live in the countryside I would always tell them to do so," he added.

But Kronthaler, whose Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood range alternates with his wife's collections, said he did not always appreciate his rural idyll. "For a long time I did not like my name and where I came from. I always wanted to be called Maximilian or Augustus. I wanted to come from somewhere like Rome. Today I'm okay with it all. The older I get the more sensual I feel."

Kronthaler's show was one of a clutch of eye-catchingly original shows on Saturday. The Japanese Comme des Garcons label -- whose shows also push the boundaries of the wearable, and those between art and couture -- sent out a line of gravity defying outfits and colourfully printed double coats, one worn inside the other.

Earlier former Comme des Garcons stalwart Junya Watanabe wowed critics with his two-tone punk designs made from prints from the famous Finnish textile house Marimekko. (AFP)

Vivienne Westwood hosts 'spectacularly idiosyncratic show' at PFW The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photo: Vivienne Westwood, Catwalkpictures

What's hot at Paris Fashion Week

With Paris Fashion Week reaching its climax, we look at what is causing a stir on the catwalks.

Vive le close cut!

Oversized has been cut down to size. For the last two years the catwalks have been awash with sulking teenagers hiding in their hoodies, huge trailing trousers and enormous coats inside of which you could shelter a small family and their fridge.

But with the look now filtering down to the high streets, fashion is off again in another direction. Paris Fashion Week has been remarkable for how the Spring/Summer collections are bringing clothes back to the body, with a much closer cut to shake off the studied shapelessness of the last few seasons.

Even Virgil Abloh, the en vogue American designer at Off-White so beloved by rap stars for his riffs on sweatshirts and streetwear has embraced the well-cut power suit, matching a double-breasted white jacket with bicycle leggings.

Everything looks much more classic, wearable and designed to flatter. Even Rick Owens, the over-the-top Los Angeles radical who took oversized to extremes, seemed to be cutting his cloth much tighter.

Black and white

Black and white isn't so much a trend for next spring and summer as the rule. Although pastels and strong colours usually dominate the spring and summer collections, this year many brands have gone right back to the essentials of black and white.

The list of those who have gone binary is long, from sexy Saint Laurent, Off-White, Balmain, Mugler, Isabel Marant, Ann Demeulemeester, Paco Rabanne and Yohji Yamamoto to Junya Watanabe, Drome, Lanvin Andrew GN and Lutz Huelle.

Silvery greys are also in with Guillaume Henry in particular using them to very polished effect for Nina Ricci with safari coats and French military jackets with epaulettes topped with Foreign Legion kepis.

Good sports

Sportswear is everywhere. At first look it might seem like fashion has finally surrendered to the football shirt-wearing masses. Koche the smart French label set up by Christelle Kocher -- who is known for her couture savvy -- sent out a series of re-imagined silky Paris Saint-Germain tops.

Despite the pearls and the exquisite detailing, there was still something of a sharp intake of breath -- was a style Rubicon being crossed here? Fashion has been embracing sportswear for a long time now, but there is a tension about how far it can go.

Kocher, who also heads up label Lemarie that specialises in feathers and other haute couture fripperies, managed to stay just about onside by successfully feminising a very male piece of kit.

PSG stars Neymar and Dani Alves even turned up on the front row at Balmain, the footballers' wives label par excellence. Lacoste, which has quit New York for Paris, delivered their reliable fare for the sporty uppercrust with tennis star Novak Djokovic looking on.

Elsewhere, Veronique Leroy gave the swimsuit a couture-over, layering her creations on top of bikinis and one-pieces, while Glenn Martens at Y/Project pulled Bermuda shorts way up the market. And polo dresses made an appearance at Carven as well as up-and-coming Atlein.

Big in Japan

The Japanese always turn heads: be it their crop of insanely gifted designers or the incredibly "looked" tribe of fashion editors, bloggers and photographers who follow the fashion circus around the globe.

But this week they have been outdoing themselves with Junya Watanabe at his brilliant best giving black and white prints from the Finnish textile house Marimekko a whole new and completely unexpected punk life.

There was also a new vampire-gothic sexual edge to Yohji Yamamoto's deeply black collection.

Yoshiyuki Miyamae's very ethereal evocation of Iceland for Issey Miyake with shimmering dresses and capes also had many admirers, and you could not but love the sets of zany 1950s "twins" that Underground sent out in outfits loosely inspired by the US artist Cindy Sherman.

What's hot at Paris Fashion Week The international Fashion Week season for women's ready-to-wear kicks off in the month of September, with all eyes set on New York, Paris, London and Milan for next seasons latest trends. For all the women's wear catwalk season must reads, click here.

Photo: Off-White, Catwalkpictures

Paris Fashion Week went underground in more ways than one when a rising young avant-garde designer held her show on the city's Metro. Berlin-based Andra Dumitrascu had to think quickly when the venue for her show late Friday fell through at the last minute.

So she directed fashionistas to the nearest Metro station, Rambuteau, where her models used the platform as a runway. "I didn't like the idea of doing it in the street, I thought a Metro station might be a better place," the Romanian-born designer told AFP.

"I love the adrenaline and the instability of the situation," she added. But the organisers had their work cut out to clear a passage, with the models sometimes being swallowed up by passengers getting on and off the trains. While Dumitrascu did not have official permission for the show, she said "it was worth taking the risk" -- and fashion critics and passengers alike seemed to enjoy the spectacle.

This is not the first time the designer has gone off-piste -- her last show took place in a sex hotel. This collection, called "Kebaby", had a youthful rave vibe with clothes mixing sportswear with Islamic influences.

Earlier in the day the Japanese brand Issey Miyake used dancers to kick off a remarkable collection drawn from the landscape of Iceland, with dresses and capes summoning up ice floes and ice cubes that you could see Bjork drooling over.

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Tokyo master Yohji Yamamoto's spring-summer collection on Friday night was almost entirely in black with flashes of vampire red in the lining of his trailing capes and scarves, with one model wearing one of his labels on her skin.

Another Japanese institution, Junya Watanabe, wowed critics in the first of the Saturday shows with his bravura punky hook-up with the Finnish textile house Marimekko. "Now that's a collaboration," The New York Times's Vanessa Friedman tweeted of his startling sculptural black and white creations.

Haider Ackermann, who also designs for Berluti, brought that razor-edged tailoring into play for his own brand, with shimmering red and gold lame tuxedos and tightly wrapped strap tops in collection that oozed power.(AFP)