For once the glitterati in Paris could have been excused for wearing their sunglasses indoors as Giorgio Armani presented a literally dazzling haute couture collection today.
Hundreds of Swarovksi crystals turned dresses into shimmering pools of light.
Dragonfly-shaped hairpieces, buttons and broaches, and pleated dresses that swished like reeds in the wind all added to an effect of sunlit water and motion.
“I loved the way everything was flowing. It just seemed like everything was on air. And I loved the way everything was pleated, and the snakeskin was pleated. It was beautiful,” singer Cher, one of the guests, told reporters after the show.
For his autumn/winter collection, Armani, who turns 72 next week, also made liberal use of exotic furs such as mink and fox.
Furs like chinchilla and sparkling embroidery also featured in the collection shown by Lebanese designer Robert Abi Nader in the off-calendar part of haute couture week – those designers who are not part of Paris’ handpicked elite.
But most of his focus was on classic, empire-style satin, silk and taffeta gowns in a mix of strong and subtle colours.
Portuguese designer Felipe Oliveira Baptista offered an entirely different vision of winter, presenting models in geometrically structured white, black and red dresses and caps shaped like birds’ beaks or the Sydney Opera House’s roof.
“Paris is for the fashion world what Hollywood is for films,” said Indian designer Ritu Beri, who also showed today.
“It’s a huge challenge to work here.”