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The Beautiful Wildness of Paris Couture Week

Jean-Paul Gaultuer, Guo Pei, Ralph & Russo, and others produced a week of strange and fantastical beauty–until the racism controversy that brought fashionistas crashing to earth.

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PARIS—After a serious run in with the more day-to-day aesthetics of ready-to-wear last season, there is no doubt that lavish glamour is once again front and center in the couture world in Paris.

Still, everything shown on the runways this week was overshadowed this week by the global controversy sparked by the note sent from one fashionista to another using the ‘N’ word, which I reported on for the Daily Beast on Thursday.

On the runways, glitter and gorgeousness ruled supreme – from the retro, high-class 1980’s club aesthetic, conjured up by Alexandre Vauthier, to the princess-in-waiting attire from the likes of Zuhair Murad.

Greek designer Celia Kritharioti’s seamstresses worked backstage to dress up Greek models like designer ostriches, while Britain’s Ralph & Russo showed the kind of glamor that bewitched Meghan Markle enough to wear one of their dresses for her engagement photographs.

Chinese couturier Guo Pei upstaged most designers on the theatrical front, while Viktor & Rolf toned it down to a few odd-looking headpieces. Jean-Paul Gaultier oversaw a crazy-fun show that also featured many black models, a small if vital corrective to the ugliness of the ‘N’ word note.

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