Put down your smartphone? Not at Paris fashion week

Usually, smartphones are the bane of organised events, but one Japanese designer decided to use snap-happy fashionistas to his advantage and make them work to see his latest collection.

As Paris kicked off a nine day fashion frenzy on Tuesday, tech-loving designer Kunihiko Morinaga for Anrealage unveiled a spring/summer 2016 ready-to-wear collection made from photosensitive material.

But to experience it in all its glory, you had to put on a headset for the sound and activate the flash on your smartphone to photograph the models.

Fashion first. Instagram or Twitter later.

To the naked eye, the clothes were grey or black, sometimes striped, resembling origami as the geometric lines played tricks on your vision.

But under the light of the flashing cameras, the designs changed colour, becoming neon yellow or revealing chequered and diamond-shaped patterns in yellow, blue, pink and green.

– A Finnish summer solstice –

The Finnish brand Aalto meanwhile drew a large crowd to its first collection presented at the prestigious Paris event, with standing room only at a runway show laced with nostalgia.

There was a hint of a nineties rave party during a summer solstice as models paraded in front of a wall of vintage speakers in long, loose-fitting silhouettes.

Designer Tuomas Merikosi used striking layered combinations, with a nearly formless dress over jeans, long tunics over trousers and twin-layered skirts.

He played with long, rounded collars, and gave long sleeves short shrift, either slicing them open or placing their opening midway down the arm.

Fashions that are sticking around according to Aalto: the popular bird print, nineties-inspired dark lips and masculine cuts with a feminine touch — that don’t cling, of course.

“During the summer solstice, people are really happy to be outside after the long winter, to party in the forest, on the edge of a lake,” Merikosi said after the show.

“This collection reflects this attitude, with numerous masculine elements which have been feminised.”

Gender-blending was also hot on the catwalk of another Paris newcomer, Nehera, a brand founded in the 1930s by a Czechoslovakian entrepreneur that was recently revived.

French designer Samuel Drira proposed a wardrobe that “transcends seasons, sexuality and styles” with a mostly white, ecru and black collection of unisex silhouettes.

– Olsen sisters’ garden in Paris –

Celebrity twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, 29, who went from child TV stars to respected stylists and businesswomen, have chosen to present the summer collection for their brand The Row in Paris this year, instead of New York.

The collection, shown by appointment, was chic, relaxed and inspired by a “woman in a garden” wearing a long, white and ethereal dress, or a long black jacket embroidered in sequins.

Paris is the last stop for the 2016 spring/summer womenswear collections after New York, London and Milan.

Wednesday kicks off with the return of iconic French fashion brand Courreges, known in the 60s for its futuristic fashion.

Well known French names such as Dior, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermes will also be presenting their latest collections.


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