Couture season ends with clubbing, celebrity and glamour

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A model wears a creation as part of the Valentino Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

PARIS – The experimentalism and audacity of 1980s club kids inspired Valentino, one of the last high-octane shows of this Paris Fashion Week couture season.

Thousands of fans lined the Pont Alexandre III bridge on a chilly Wednesday night to scream as their idols went in and out — from K-pop star Suga of BTS fame to Anne Hathaway and Kylie Minogue — some of whom danced into early Thursday.

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But screams also echoed inside the aptly named Bridge Club venue when supermodel Kristen McMenamy took a tumble as she walked the runway. Director Baz Luhrmann also spoke to The Associated Press about the Academy Award nominations for his movie “Elvis.”

Here are some highlights, including Thursday's Fendi show:


The 1980s hit “Fade to Grey” by Visage echoed through the stone arches of the underground club venue, as fashion insiders — including Anna Wintour and couture favorite Luhrmann — tapped their feet and watched on.

It was a co-ed show for club kids.

In an irreverent take on classical couture, designer Pierpaolo Piccioli played with Valentino codes to make micro tops out of tulle bows, jumpsuits out of thousands of feathers and evening jackets out of metal beading.

He had a lot of fun along the way, lining the designs with polka dots in the spirit of 1980s euphoria.

Sheer lace trenches and ruffled poet’s blouses — almost straight from the wardrobe of late Visage singer Steve Strange — had guests reaching for their cameras.

Minogue, who looked thrilled, said the show was about how “to break free of the rules and inhabit your true self ... You’re in Paris tonight. You’re in the middle of it all.”

Valentino continued its club couture at Maxime’s with a couture DJ set, as guests were whisked away by limousines to escape the screaming crowds.


When Wintour introduced Luhrmann to Hathaway and other guests, there was a flurry of congratulations about his Elvis biopic that has just garnered eight Oscar nominations, including for best picture.

Luhrmann spoke to the AP of his “pride” — and his humility.

“There’s no ‘me’ in it — only ‘we.’ Then there’s this thing called the miracle of Austin Butler,” he said, referring to the 31-year-old playing Elvis Presley who has received a best actor nomination. “That doesn’t happen every day,” he added.

Luhrmann also spoke of Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis’ daughter, who died earlier this month.

“I really feel for the family. We miss her dearly.”


McMenamy tumbled twice in a row, falling to her knees, as she trod the boards at the Valentino venue.

Dressed in an embellished floral bustier gown and pink gloves, the veteran 58-year-old model was helped to her feet on the runway by onlookers — to rousing applause.

McMenamy cast her high heels to the side — landing somewhere near Minogue — and continued on, though her ankle looked injured.


Fendi said the Italian word “sprezzatura” — or nonchalance — was at the heart of this relaxed couture collection where designer Kim Jones said he wanted to capture “the lightness, fluidity and attitude of today.”

“The collection is an inner world made into an external one — both figuratively and literally,” Jones said, “with a sense of underwear becoming eveningwear.”

Cue a more relatable, human side to couture — that was deceptively simple and subtly provocative.

A shell top was embroidered like lingerie, while a length of roughly cut embellished fabric became a fabulous asymmetrical sand sash.

Styles were intentionally draped in a haphazard fashion.

A length of cloud-colored fabric, held by a utilitarian clasp, was draped at the waist. In a feat of contradiction, the garment resembled both a bedsheet and a wind-swept sash from a Renaissance painting.

The best garments were ones that broke up the couture codes. Diaphanous winged sleeves floated by regally, but they were detached at the top in some great, fashion-forward deconstruction.

It was applauded by a front row including Rita Ora and Courtney Love.


Classical couture was on display at Aelis on Thursday, as Italian designer Sofia Crociani channeled her Mediterranean heritage. Crociani launched the house six years ago to widespread praise as an ecological, ethical and sustainable label.

For spring, loose gowns featuring bands of embroidered sequins defined hemlines with a Grecian style, appearing over dramatic twisted white sustainable fabric.

Embellished ribbons, meanwhile, cascaded like curtain tassels from the shoulder to create a stylish swag when the model walked.

Fringing and sparkle were used throughout for a show that oozed an archetypal glamour.

Lengths of heavy satin and silk were employed generously on full skirts in pastel shades that were sometimes gathered, draped or ruffled.

Then Crociani went to the disco — with sparkling threads creating tiers of fringing on one shoulderless micro gown.

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