PARIS: Donatella Versace dazzled Paris on a dark, snowy night Sunday with a spring couture collection heavy on 24-carat gold pinstripes and crystal embroidery that some might say tended toward bling.
Hollywood actor Kevin Costner, Princess Charlene of Monaco, actresses Melissa George and Olivia Munn and pop singer Ne-Yo were among those who turned out.
Versace, whose collection was shown the night before the rest of the couture shows begin, said she took inspiration from the “architectural splendor of glass domes where the fragility of glass contrasts with the strength of iron and steel beams.”
Creations most clearly illustrating the theme included a black column evening dress in a geometric pattern with embroidered bustier and a fluorescent yellow chiffon minidress encrusted with crystals.
Fittingly the show was held beneath a domed roof some 17 meters high created by the company of Eiffel Tower architect Gustave Eiffel.
Hedi Slimane, meanwhile, wrapped up the menswear shows with his first, eagerly anticipated Saint Laurent collection for men.
Credited with revolutionizing menswear during his stint at Dior from 2000 to 2007, in the past Slimane made headlines for teaming jackets cut short with narrow trousers in an androgynous, pencil-thin look copied by mass-market designers worldwide.
Rock and grunge appeared to have influenced his first Saint Laurent menswear collection, prompting a surge of favorable comment on Twitter.
French President Francois Hollande’s partner Valerie Trierweiler was among those in the front row.
Earlier, most notably, Dutch designer Lucas Ossendrijver and Lanvin artistic director Alber Elbaz presented a chic and relaxed collection for winter 2013.
Coats were loose-fitting and soft-shouldered or belted, quilted and body-hugging. Ties were narrow worn with sheer shirts in orange and lilac while footwear featured calf-high boots and sneakers.
American rapper Kanye West was among hundreds attending the show at Paris’ National School of Fine Arts as snow fell outside, blanketing Paris in a rare covering.
Japanese designer Rynshu provided plenty of contrast as he served up a heavy dose of glamour with a collection of mostly black evening wear.
Models in slinky, sparkling pieces strode out onto red carpet in the opulent surroundings of a Place de Vendome hotel ballroom.
Close-fitting suits were covered in sequins, while for the even more adventurous there were skirts consisting of baggy trousers with a pleated middle section.
Elsewhere, Paul Smith opted for minimal, shorter suiting with tight shoulders and laser-cut pockets.
Colors included wintry shades of purple and turquoise complemented by vivid citrus tones. Prints ranged from magnified houndstooth on shirting to hazy marbling on coats and jackets.
For footwear, there was another reworking of the Chelsea boot with a zip back and a trainer sole.
In search of a “well-defined and honest” fashion, Melinda Gloss’ Remi de Laquintane and Mathieu de Menonville focused on “informal tailoring.”
An abstract kaleidoscopic print inspired by a painting by Willem de Kooning featured in a number of pieces, and oversized hooded coats and trench coats blended arty and military influences in clothes suited to “creative” Parisian minds.
Haute couture exists only in Paris, where it is a legally protected appellation subject to strict criteria such as the amount of work carried out by hand, the limited number of pieces and the size of a house’s workforce.