Grey skies don’t deter Rihanna at Paris fashion week

PARIS, (Reuters) – Rainy skies did not deter the fashionistas from gathering this week in Paris – with singer Rihanna this season’s front-row “It” girl – as the Fall/Winter ready-to-wear collections promised cold weather looks to warm the iciest of hearts.

As winter refused to say goodbye in the City of Light, Dior head designer Raf Simons resuscitated his “flower woman” on Friday, this time sheathing her in doubled-breasted power suits with white laces up the sides.

That boudoir feel was nowhere to be seen, however, in the billowing quilted nylon dresses and skirts that ended the show – unless Simons was envisioning a high-fashion sleeping bag.

Still, the audacious fabric and colour combinations, such as emerald green and fuchsia, kept fans of the house of Dior buzzing, and Rihanna, who sipped champagne from the front row at Lanvin the night before, slipped backstage to schmooze with Simons.


Designer ready-to-wear, or pret-a-porter in French, is an 85-billion-euro ($116 billion) global business, according to Euromonitor, and the fashion week that runs from Tuesday through to March 3 is a major advertising weapon for brands.

Rihanna, one of many celebrities including model Miranda Kerr and actress Jessica Alba who cropped up this week, did not let the weather get her down. At a Lanvin after-party, the “Umbrella” pop star showed up in a see-through fishnet top, while at Dior, black-gartered stockings peeked out underneath a red coat.


Despite Rihanna’s opting for bared flesh, a cold-weather outdoor vibe seemed to infuse the week’s presentations, with Gisele Bundchen closing the Balenciaga show with a top that was part grey wool ski sweater and part black satin blouse.

That modern ski chalet mood infused the collection from Artistic Director Alexander Wang, who used zippers, hems of leather and perforated fabrics to bring a sportswear feel to the couture house’s ultra-modern silhouettes.

Barbara Bui presented a cozy collection of cable-knit ponchos and sweaters in winter white, although her midriff-baring black cropped jackets were more downtown than alpine.

And at Balmain, designer Olivier Rousteing took inspiration from Africa in a leopard-infused collection that transformed his models into modern Masai goddesses.

With cargo pants front and centre, Rousteing combined khaki leather and suede in a warrior-inspired looks, complete with armour-like tunics cinched at the waist, and intricate and elegant roped creations.

While black tends to predominate in most fall-winter collections, splashes of colour emerged in unlikely combinations. Mustard and leopard combos at Carven, the unexpected spring-like lavender at Nina Ricci, the pink, yellow and navy florals at Dries Van Noten or Dior’s maroon juxtaposed with fuchsia, all provided a jolt.

That maroon colour cropped up repeatedly during the week, including at Chalayan and at Rick Owens, where the programme notes described the shade as “dried blood.”

Despite the front-row stars, the crush of photographers and the glamourous catwalks that make fashion week what it is, sales of French ready-to-wear are expected to shrink for the seventh straight year in 2014, according to estimates from the French Fashion Institute.

Garry Marshall

Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall dead at 81 – media

(Reuters) – Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall, who was responsible for creating sitcom hits such as “The Odd Couple” and “Happy Days” and directed hit movies “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” died on Tuesday, Variety reported.


Tamil superstar takes over southern India ahead of film release

(Reuters) – Frenzy gripped southern India yesterday, a day ahead of the release of Tamil cinema superstar Rajinikanth’s crime-drama film titled “Kabali.” Chennai, the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, buzzed with activity with men plastering life-size posters, depicting Rajinikanth’s character in the movie.

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Singer Elton John gives boost to groups fighting AIDS

NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Groups working to battle AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are the first winners of grants established by singer Elton John to end discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the singer said.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Pakistani singer Khan unites Bollywood and Qawwali in UK shows

(Reuters) – Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, known for both Bollywood hits and Qawwali, Sufi devotional music that dates back more than 700 years, is taking the two genres to Britain in August for three concerts.


Rihanna cancels Nice concert after attack

LONDON,  (Reuters) – Pop star Rihanna has cancelled a concert scheduled for Friday in Nice after a gunman in a truck ploughed into crowds marking Bastille Day in the southern coastal French city, killing at least 84 people.

Kaveri Kapur

Indian teen music star hopes to emerge from famous parents’ shadow

LONDON, (Reuters) – The teenage daughter of one of India’s best known movie directors has had her first chart hit – with a song she wrote when just 11 years old.


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