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Valentino says it with flowers at Paris Fashion Week show

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A model wears a creation for the Valentino Spring-Summer 2022 ready-to-wear fashion show presented in Paris, Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

PARIS – Valentino gave its pared down fashion audience a taste of real Parisian life on Friday. Its show featured flower stands, traditional bistro chairs and tables at which guests, including singer Giveon and “The Crown” star Vanessa Kirby, were served wine by waiters.

Members of the public stared on from real-life cafes in Le Marais outside the venue in disbelief. But they too got some of the action when, to vibrant applause, the models spilled out onto the real Parisian streets following the show in myriad sparkling, color-rich designs.

Here are some highlights of Spring 2022 collections presented Friday:

VALENTINO

In the heart of Paris’ most fashionable and streetwise district Le Marais, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli let his hair down. It made for a vibrant and varied collection entitled “On the Streets of Paris.”

For spring, his aim was to show fashion as it should be - worn on the street. And that he did literally.

There were gleaming gold sequins, eye-popping color, baggy jeans and sheeny Juliette sleeves that smacked of the 80s. This season, the Italian designer moved in a welcome disco-infused direction.

Yet, the designs remained finessed despite the street-musing: One loose, menswear suit in emerald had a silk foulard collar in lavender flapping out delicately from underneath. Silken material ensured that this collection maintained a real sense of luxuriance throughout.

“(This is) street not meant as streetwear but conceived... as real life,” clarified the house of Piccioli’s intentions.

When the show ended, like true Parisians, guests were handed bouquets of local flowers sourced from real flower sellers in the Ile-de-France region, while the models strutted around the city streets to thunderous cheers.

ISSEY MIYAKE IS SOFT

The elasticity of water was the anchor for Issey Miyake’s collection, which featured swimming caps and vividly colored hats resembling marine creatures.

But it was shape in its purest form that began Friday’s collection — against a backdrop of minimalist square paneling.

A sporty vest, pared-down and in pale pastel, set the spring tone. It was the top part of a dress whose skirt was constructed with flattened Japanese lanterns. This idea of flattened, three-dimensional shapes ran throughout the 40 looks. The lantern motif also reappeared on several key items — one with the hole positioned on the model’s chest like a talisman.

Instead of regular lantern ribbing, the Japanese house, which is known for its use of techno fabrics, employed elastic pleating to give the bottom of its lightweight dresses structure and bounce. The house called this the “link rings” motif.

It was a soft and wearable display.

RAF SIMONS’ SHE-WOLF OF WALL STREET

Paris Fashion Week has for years now blurred the boundaries between men’s and women’s fashions. Raf Simons took this tried-and-tested theme for his spring show, but pushed a little further.

This was a collection exploring androgyny in the corporate office -- the last place that would spring to mind as a non-binary safe space.

It was a lot of fun.

In the Bourse de la Commence, a finely tailored business-like jacket filed by above a gray skirt with a flounce cut on the bias. Models sported non-gender-specific, grunge-style hair — the long styles that were all the rage in the mid-1990s.

Simple oversize tops, and large swathes of bare fabric, added the Minimalist touch often associated with the Belgian designer, who once designed for Dior.

But there was also a splashing of color that broke up the collection, which employed an otherwise mute palette. Red prints infused the front of a black jacket while blue text on a skirt looked almost like it had been sprayed on as graffiti.

MCQUEEN RECRUITS PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTISTS

With many houses still only a digital presence during Fashion Week, some are engaging in focused campaigns to promote their designs. Alexander McQueen is one. The brand launched a global art-fashion campaign this season in which it enlisted photographers to snap their popular Tread Slick book in a natural world setting. Photographers such as Katie Burnett, Max Farago, Gwen Trannoy and Charlie Gates took part in the project photographing the chucky soled boots by the water's edge, on rocks, next to flowers and covered in foam bubbles. It's probably as romantic as fashion week gets.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K