Paris fashion week is now over and the latest fashion sensations for the autumn/winter 2006/07 season have been released.
The usual stars of the haute couture collections, such as the John Galliano designs for Christian Dior, did not disappoint. The Dior show was themed around medieval armour and the Italian renaissance, with a touch of Blade Runner thrown in. Helmets encrusted with jewels, glass beads and crystals, with silver foil, bin liners and pennants used to evoke a modernised sense of knights jousting while the ladies of the court, wearing make up influenced by the paintings of Van Eyck and Botticelli, paraded along the cat walk. Armorial style was further enhanced by milliner Stephen Jones who was brought in to create replicas of medieval armour using copper and brass through to even less traditional materials such as latex, beads and feathers.
Kylie Minogue delighted onlookers by gracing the Chanel show catwalk following her recent cancer recuperation. Karl Lagerfeld's creations did not disappoint either with fantastic modern styled tweed creations, combined with denim boots and jeweled heels, three-quarter length coats, jeweled fingerless gloves which flirtatiously left the models shoulders bare, and tantalizing touches of brocade.
This year men were well represented in the fashion stakes, following on from years of conservative styling. Collections of monochrome suits, surfer style inspired prints and cutting-edge sportswear abounded with unisex portfolios presented in characteristic style by Jean Paul Gaultier, with possible Dior future designer, Kris Van Assche, displaying interchangeable his and hers suits.
Paris fashion is however more eternal than simply the high profile shows. A quick flight to Paris or a trip through the channel tunnel and this style centre of Europe can be within the grasp of any Brit aspiring to a little bit of European chic.
Paris is a fashion Mecca. All year round the styles in Paris are constantly changing, leading the way in clothing trends across the globe, but it is amazing to see this flamboyant city truly come alive with the arrival of the stars and the week long bourgeois festival of fashion turns the spotlight on this region. All the major fashion houses have stores located within the city, with most situated in and around the Champs-Elysées area on Avenue Montaigne or the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Armani, Chanel, Dior, Lacroix, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Versace and Kenzo are just a few of the big names for those with deep pockets, while many smaller boutiques and shopping centres provide more affordable fashions for anyone wanting fantastic styles without the fantastic price tags, and there is always the ready-to-wear shows coming up in October to look forward to.