Haute couture in Paris: secondhand luxury and 'radical chic'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The first 'real' day of shows has come to an end at the Paris haute couture week, with highlights including Anne Valerie Hash transforming the clothes of her designer and celebrity friends into high-fashion creations.

The French designer proved she was on fashion's forefront when she recycled her colleagues' donations including pyjamas from Lanvin's Alber Elbaz and a sailor shirt from Jean Paul Gaultier into her own couture creations.

Stars such as actress Tilda Swinton and rocker Pete Doherty also donated to the cause, which according to Hash, was meant as an experiment to promote her fashion brand but wouldn't result in her selling the unique creations.

The Paris fashion crowd has transitioned from men's fashion week directly into haute couture, and first highlights included Alexis Mabille's reworked signature bows in surprisingly radical colors and graphics.

'Radical chic' is also a term used by haute couture designer Alexandre Vauthier, who told Relaxnews that his collection - to be shown on the night of Monday, January 25 - would be a combination of femininity and radicality, "celebrating the woman's body," but in the ambiance of a "Tron-esque film."

Josephus Thimister's comeback to Paris after eight years of absence, invited by the official organizing body of the haute couture week, has made most headlines so far, while Christian Dior's was the most exclusive showcase on this Monday. Insiders are now eagerly anticipating Giorgio Armani Privé, Givenchy, Chanel, Elie Saab, Gaultier, and Valentino over the coming days.

Only 11 couture houses are part of the official haute couture calendar (compared to around 100 houses 60 years ago).