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Paris Fashion Week: Highlights so far

The final leg of the spring 13 womenswear season kicked off in Paris this week, signalling one of the most highly anticipated fashion weeks in years.

The last few months of fashion musical chairs will finally be resolved, as new creative director Hedi Slimane will debut his first ready-to-wear Saint Laurent collection for the house of Yves Saint Laurent.

Elsewhere Raf Simons, formerly of Jil Sander, will step into the boots once filled by John Galliano and unveil his first ready-to-wear offering at the helm of Christian Dior, following July’s triumphant couture collection. It will be interesting to see the direction in which both designers take two of Paris’ biggest fashion names.

Wednesday saw a stellar showing from Belgian designer Dries Van Noten, with a grungy take on masculine meets feminine, formal meets casual and street style meets couture, with a slight nod to grunge star Kurt Cobain (in the white rimmed sunglasses at least).

From the first look, a loose semi-sheer plaid silky shirt layered over a casual vest teamed with a beautiful, heavily encrusted appliqued skirt, Van Noten skilfully mix-and-matched prints, proportions and shapes.

Gareth Pugh showed a collection that was Pugh through and through, but with a maturity and new softness that is sure to appeal to a wider audience. His trademark black palette was sprinkled with greys and off-whites alongside punches of blood red. It was regal and almost medieval, but with a futuristic Japanese twist that saw his sharp angular shapes, which came as sleek portrait necklines and jutting kimono sleeves, ebb away into long, trailing trouser hems and billowy fringing.

Today’s 9am show was Balenciaga, where Nicolas Ghesquiere’s first looks included elegant nipped waist dresses and high waisted skirts featuring his modernist take on flowing flamenco peplum hems contrasted with sharp double breasted tailoring. Other shows taking place today include Carven, Balmain, Rick Owens and Lanvin.

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