Crown king Miyake scores with hat trick

'HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you', chorused 300 photographers from the depths of the Paris theatre, writes Alison Veness.

It was the ninth fashion show of a long, long day but the Japanese designer Issey Miyake is guaranteed to raise a smile from the weariest lensman. The song was in response to Miyake's fabulous hats which were wickedly inventive and fun.

Hats, hats, hats. Candles crowned hats resembling chocolate birthday bombes, the sauce spilling over the sides (hence the song). Pasta hats were constructed from ravioli, fettucine and twists. Garbage hats were made from shiny black plastic bin-liners, and the kitchen sink came too - with utensil-like wind-chimes fringing pan lids.

The Miyake show was fashion as theatre, complete with sinuous dancers, and it was fashion as art as Miyake's signature pleating undulated in waves or concertina-ed out.

His show was also fashion as film: the Pret-a-Porter Robert Altman crew are still in town. Now that the frisson of excitement at being on the silver screen has worn off, fashion hacks are getting worried, watching what they say. 'The whole place is wired for sound,' they whisper. Careless talk could cost careers.

Over at Courrege, the new designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac produced a sporty, snappy, first collection for the label.

It combined the best of Sixties classic Courreges with the Nineties. Blocks of Mondrian primary colours fused with the hi-tech slick styling of ultra-modern, space-age ski wear - a mass of silver and white. You could tell it was a success as de Castelbajac and a frail Courreges, 71, came down the catwalk together to thunderous applause.

(Photographs omitted)

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