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Paris Fashion Week: theatrical flourishes from Chanel, Valentino and Alexander McQueen

Plus a cameo from Zoolander’s Derek and Hansel brings some humour to the catwalk.

Famous faces Derek Zoolander and Hansel, (otherwise known as actors Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson) took to the runway at Valentino yesterday in a stunt that lit up social media and will form part of new film Zoolander 2. But Valentino’s design duo Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli did not let that upstage their latest collection.

The pair have become known for their demurely elegant, high-necked, long-sleeved, low-hemmed silhouette so it was interesting to see this expanded upon. There were still numerous beautiful evening dresses embroidered and embellished to stunning effect, but a younger cropped A-line silhouette felt new, as did cropped culottes. Chunky jumpers gave a luxed-up casual edge for daytime.

Karl Lagerfeld is known as the king of the spectacle in Paris, staging elaborate catwalk shows that are as extravagant as his clothing creations. First we had his life-sized remake of a supermarket, followed by last season’s full street installation complete with model protest. This time he created a huge bistro, complete with stale croissants, aged leather seats and inattentive waiters.

Even though there was close to 100 looks, it was clear that tweed was key alongside a daytime focus. Cropped blouson jackets felt sporty over roomy mid-length skirts, a wonderful array of wools and tweeds made up variations on suits with trousers or skirts, while a parka teamed with a V-neck jumper, pencil skirt and accessorised with an umbrella looked almost everyday. It represented Chanel’s take on the mundane ways we dress each day.

At Alexander McQueen, designer Sarah Burton took inspiration from the life and death of a rose, from its beauty to its decay. This appeared as signature lace and tiered dresses, with skirts that bloomed like rose petals. High collars on tailored coats and long-sleeved floor-skimming maxi dresses nodded to the season’s slight Victoriana trend, also spotted at the likes of Givenchy.

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