PARIS (AP) - Paris fashion week geared up a notch Wednesday with theatrical performances in historic courtyards, cantering horses and jewels adorning supernatural creations. Fashionistas meanwhile prepared for Olivier Rousteing's one-off turn as a designer at Jean Paul Gaultier for the highly-anticipated evening show. Gaultier himself retired from couture in January 2020 after 50 years.
Here are some highlights of the fall-winter 2022 collections so far:
ELIE SAAB'S SUPERNATURAL
There was something shamanic in the air at Elie Saab, as the Lebanese designer fused his usual show-stopping fare with the supernatural in a rare co-ed show.
Flame red and charcoal black feathers, which seemed to burn up the skirt of the first black gown in a V, set the otherworldly tone.
There was an ethnic feel to the textures and patterns, and a nice geometry in the garment's pared-down straps that exposed the model's flesh.
Another piece, a high priest-cum-bird look, was surely the piece de resistance: A red-black feathered A-line cape with strong shoulders worn on a male model that powerfully swept the floor. With its intricate white embroidered patterning resembling a totem, it was an impressive piece of design.
A sorceress feel infused other creations, such as one bejeweled, silver-tasseled number with a sparkling choker that seemed to hark from a fantasy movie. It was worn on a model with swept-back hair and nude makeup.
The French couturier and lover of art and theater took his audience back in time on Wednesday to a Renaissance universe of court jesters, fairytale maidens and cantering horses.
In the cobbled courtyard of a historic grand townhouse, a saxophonist played on stone steps as a horse grazed at his feet. Then a damsel descended from two carved wooden doors, wearing a bleeding red velvet gown with voluminous full skirt to lead the horse away. A court jester appeared in an amorphous white bib featuring playing card motifs, as a model in pigtails and a baby pink textured gown with capped sleeves offered out candy floss. Her skirt, cut on the bias and slightly dropped, had heavy ripples that moved with a stylish swagger.
And then a man in tails and 19th century top hat rode in on a Penny Farthing bicycle.
Groups of men and women entered the courtyard scuffling in stylized black, funeral-style tailored ensembles. One female model had a mafia-style hat and long silk scarf -- and looked like the head of some feuding crime clan.
The fusion of performance with fashion made for a highly memorable spectacle.