Kronthaler’s carnival: Westwood’s legacy finds its maverick heir in Paris

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PARIS (AP) — An afternoon of stardom, surprise and style reverberated in the heart of Paris Fashion Week on Saturday. As Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood unfolded, it became clear: Fashion’s wild heart is alive and beating stronger than ever.

Here are some highlights of spring-summer 2024 shows.

FROM PANTOMIME TO PUNK: A SPECTACLE UNFOLDS

Pantomime ponchos, tribal silk headdresses and melted cake-like hats? Only Kronthaler could blend such disparate elements with such flair. The eccentric behind this show is no stranger to the spotlight, and it’s clear he’s carving his niche within the Westwood legacy.

With celebrities like Pamela Anderson and Christina Hendricks in the front row and unmistakable cheers from Place Vendome, the brand’s meteoric rise in recent years was evident. Inside, anticipation built, amplified by gleaming percussion instruments.

Delving into Kronthaler’s history with Westwood, one can trace his growth. While inspired by Westwood’s punk roots, he’s not afraid to introduce his own distinct flavor. This season solidified that transformation.

The toggle mask, a daring take on traditional religious veils, and a gold devore tunic that could have been a costume piece for Shakespeare’s magical character Ariel, showcased his blend of humor and fashion finesse. But it wasn’t all quirkiness. A medieval looking gray jacket, boasting sharply sculpted lapels, cinched waist, statement sleeves and intricate stitching details, underscored Kronthaler’s mastery in crafting elegance. Kronthaler’s tribute to Westwood was touching: “She truly traveled in her mind. I owe her so much.”

This wasn’t just another fashion show; it was a declaration of a brand evolving yet honoring its roots.

PAMELA ANDERSON CHAMPIONS ENVIRONMENTAL CAUSES AT VIVIENNE WESTWOOD SHOW

At Vivienne Westwood, former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson, a fervent environmental activist herself, donned a striking Westwood hat and passionately spoke about her admiration for the late fashion designer’s commitment to environmental causes. Anderson hailed Westwood as a “climate revolutionary,” expressing her deep respect for the designer’s proactive stance on climate change.

Anderson remarked on how Westwood was ahead of her time in recognizing the urgency of climate change and how she often faced frustration when trying to convey her message. “She always was trying to get her point across,” Anderson said in an interview with The Associated Press, noting that many are now realizing that Westwood was right all along.

The luxury sector’s responsibility was also highlighted, with Anderson candidly stating, “The fashion industry should be doing more.” She lauded the efforts of designers like Stella McCartney and Chloe for moving in a more sustainable direction, but remained insistent on the fashion to further its environmental endeavors.

Echoing Westwood’s philosophy, Anderson emphasized the value of quality over quantity in consumer choices: “Vivienne always said buy one great thing a year. Don’t buy a lot of crap.”

CARVEN’S LEGACY REBORN: A FUSION OF PAST AND PRESENT

As the fall sun unveiled Carven’s fresh designs on Saturday morning, it wasn’t just about the latest collection but an homage to its storied 78-year journey.

Taking center stage, new designer Louise Trotter introduced the collection, masterfully weaving iconic elements of the brand’s heritage with a forward-looking aesthetic. From its inception in 1945 by trailblazer Marie-Louise Carven, the house was hailed for its luxury merged with the accessibility, bringing haute couture down to the streets. Carven’s revolutionary “Ma Griffe” fragrance and petite sizes for French women further cemented its iconic status in the annals of fashion.

Fast forward to today’s runway: about 40 meticulously crafted silhouettes radiated both reverence and rejuvenation. Signature high-waisted trousers, cinched blouses, and sleek A-line dresses reminded long-time aficionados of Carven’s penchant for emphasizing the waist and hips. The new-age touch came through modern monochrome suits, airy tiered skirts, and pastel trenches. A particularly striking look paired a draped satin blouse with a structured leather skirt, epitomizing the fusion of the brand’s enduring elegance and contemporary fierceness.

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