‘Calm’ Kardashian joins Emma Watson at Valentino couture show

Kim Kardashian, Valentino
Kim Kardashian and fashion designer Valentino pose for photographers prior to the presentation of the Valentino Fall Winter 2014-15 Haute Couture fashion collection designed by Italian creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli, in Paris, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

PARIS (AP) — She says her life is a lot calmer since she married fashionista-rapper Kanye West. And she prefers to stay at home with her baby.
But calm did not prevail Wednesday when Kim Kardashian, in a whistle-stop 24-hour visit to Paris, faced the incandescent lights of Valentino’s couture show in a plunging ice blue gown that caused photographers to trip over themselves.
Away from the limelight, Emma Watson, demure in a black lace gown, quietly slipped in at the last minute.
Meanwhile, “Moulin Rouge” director Baz Luhrmann attended Jean Paul Gaultier’s gender-bending display and spoke out about gay politics.
Here are the highlights of the last full day of Paris’ haute couture fall-winter 2014-15 collections, including show reports from Valentino, Jean Paul Gaultier and Elie Saab.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a year for reality star Kardashian, with the birth of her baby last summer and her highly-publicized Florentine wedding with West.
So little wonder that the 33-year-old feels her life has got more serene since she tied the knot.
“Laughter is such a good medicine. It’s definitely got calmer since I married. I love my life with my husband and my baby,” she told The Associated Press.
Kardashian looked radiant in a revealing silk Valentino floor length gown as she arrived arm-in-arm with house founder Valentino Garavani.
“Absolutely, calm on the inside can make you glow on the outside. I also get a lot of sleep. But I’m a happy person and in such a good place,” she said.
Valentino climbed Mount Olympus for inspiration for his new season, bringing back the flowing, draped silks and flat crisscross sandals of the ancient Greek gods.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli produced a strong 61-piece collection in which they showed off the natural beauty of crepe silk, sheer tulle and marbled wool in draped or column silhouettes.
Often creations were cinched under the bust thanks to leather bandings in red, white and black, giving the models the illusion of goddess-like leg length.
Elsewhere, details normally seen on Greco-Roman vases, like flowers or olive leaves, were printed on garments.
But the show hit its highest point when the designers let the sumptuous couture-standard fabrics do the talking — with devastating simplicity.
One draped pale blue gown with gentle ripples could have been worn by goddess Hera, and, deceptively, it looked like it had been cut from a single piece of cloth.
There was more than a hint of Angelina Jolie’s latest Disney villain in the air at Jean Paul Gaultier’s bewitched show.
Fifty dark couture creations such as black fur coats, black paneled leather pencil skirts, circular crinoline skirts, exaggeratedly high fringes, and sleeves in black “mille feuille” organza couture slinked along the silken catwalk.
The piece de resistance? A look that Gaultier called “Maleficent.” A model with an exaggeratedly long jaw-line, black bustier with mink bands and dark crepe pants held out a mirror in which she stared, pouted and cackled.
It had the audience hypnotized.
As is now common with the aging enfant terrible, many convergent silhouettes were thrown into the couture cauldron — including draped hoods, men’s tuxedos and even silver silk sweat pants.
But the dark theme, and the layers of stiff organza that stood off the body and were delicately hand-cut in the atelier, gave this collection an unusual cohesion.
Baz Luhrmann, the director who brought drag-queens and gender-benders to the screen with gusto in films such as “Romeo & Juliet” and “Moulin Rouge,” spoke out about gay rights at Gaultier’s show.
The catwalk models included Conchita Wurst, the bearded drag queen who won this year’s Eurovision song contest.
“Gaultier was always about transgender sexuality, about high and low,” he said. Referring to Wurst, he added: “So for him to be having his show crowned by the grand dame of drag queen or transsexual expression is appropriate.”
Luhrmann said there has been a backlash against gay rights around the world, especially in France and several US states, partly triggered by the legalization of gay marriage. But the 51-year-old said that this shows gay rights are advancing.
“What you see is a sort of reaction against how successful it’s been,” he said.
Haute couture is expensive to make, and for decades it has been known to eat up more money than it reaps for Parisian fashion houses. It’s traditionally been used as a kind of advertisement, to raise the house profile and attract customers to the lucrative lines such as perfume and ready-to-wear.
But times are changing.
Gaultier says his haute couture is actually profitable — and healthily in the black.
It’s perhaps a result of the recent renaissance of haute couture, after years of critics sounding its death knell.
“I can say ‘Yes.’ It is profitable. I love it as we have more and more clients. I am proud to be a designer of couture,” said the designer, who publicly champions his main clients, such as socialite Mouna Ayoub, by placing them in the front row of his show.
He says the secret of his success is to make wearable clothes, but to not compromise on the couture craftsmanship.
“Do couture truly as couture,” he said.
Myriad baroque chandeliers lit up as Elie Saab transformed his runway into a winter palace.
And it was, indeed, a dreamt-up Parisian palace that inspired the shimmer-rich collection, according to the Lebanese couturier.
Jewel-toned colors of crimson, glacial blue, midnight indigo, white and sultry black were designed to mirror the “prismic reflections” of crystal chandeliers. Floral embroideries on tulle and lace were taken from the scrolling patterns of stately murals.
The palace theme, however, was essentially a pretext for the master of va-va-voom to carry on his infinitesimal variations on the popular embellished gowns he produces season upon season.
As ever, there were the cinched-waist column dresses, or the pearly embellished full-skirts that sparkled in the light.
Saab is one of the main go-to designers for rich fashion-conscious brides hunting for a gown, and Wednesday’s collection demonstrates why. Though it packed no surprises — far from it — everything is constructed to the ultimate finesse.
With models’ faces masked or netted, Maison Martin Margiela’s deconstructed show played with unfinished fashion designs.
Asiatic-style decorative gowns were cut away asymmetrically in the leg, as if the model had put on the dress before it was finished.
Elsewhere, a mish-mash patchwork of fabrics resembled the test samples designers use before they purchase fabric.
Dangling cords on blue and red dresses formed a lobster, meanwhile, sending up the Elsa Schaparelli look that Lady Gaga reinterpreted in 2010.
It was wacky and creative.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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