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Viard's debut at Chanel ready-to-wear is crashed by comedian

By The Associated Press
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PARIS (AP) — In her first solo ready-to-wear show since Karl Lagerfeld's death, Chanel designer Virginie Viard had a lot to prove.

And by recreating a sprawling Parisian roofscape inside the Grand Palais with a front row including Sting and Cardi B, Viard showed she intended to take on Lagerfeld's mantel of showmanship. But in an unfortunate twist, a runway crasher — a French comedian who shot out from the seated area to walk theatrically with the models — ended up stealing the show in a publicity stunt.

Here are some highlights of Paris Fashion Week's final day of the spring-summer 2020 collections on Tuesday, including Louis Vuitton:

CHANEL'S CATWALK ON A HOT TIN ROOF

Chanel used its formidable show coffers to recreate a cityscape of Haussmannian roofs: Replete with lead tiling, windows with shutters, railings and chimneys.

With a cracked window pane, weathered rainfall markings and a decidedly gray — not blue — spring sky, it's clear that the set this season favored realism over romance. Wet guests coming in from the drizzling Paris weather just added to the ambiance.

Yet the show — and it 83 wearable designs featuring truncated tweeds and A-line miniskirts — seemed to lack in romance.

Many looks evoked the city's famed understated style: A pair of high-waist cropped jeans was set off with a simple white striped knit jacket, on which a large rose broach subtly matched the model's red lips. Silver shorts were as fantastical as this grounded collection got.

Tweed mini-dresses were, as ever, beautifully-executed, coming this season with slightly dropped pockets in a gamine style. Stripes and checks appeared across layered skirts and down Chanel's dresses in a gentle visual kinesis.

But the ready-to-wear collection — Viard's first as a solo force at the design helm — seemed to lack a central idea.

Lagerfeld's daringly inventive silhouettes are a hard act to follow — and this display, though both wearable and highly chic — fell short of the sunshine.

___

CHANEL'S FASHION INTRUDER

At the finale for the Chanel show, a guest resembling a Mary Poppins figure in tweed, identified as a French YouTuber and comedian Marie Benoliel, stood up and boldly walked onto the runway.

With a theatrical nod to confused spectators, some of whom momentarily thought she was part of the presentation, Benoliel then started to strut down the rooftop runway with all the other models. Apart from the slightly besheveled swagger in her walk, she almost blended in.

The catwalk crasher moved so quickly that Chanel's bewildered security team didn't have time to catch up. Gigi Hadid, who put the super in supermodel, saved the day by apprehending the hat-wearing lady at the end of the podium. She and other models then escorted Benoliel off the roof.

Benoliel has done this before, according to her YouTube channel, on which she posted the Chanel stunt. She previously managed to get onstage at an Etam show with Cindy Bruna in lingerie.

She goes by the name Marie S'Infiltre on Instagram, meaning roughly "Mary gets inside" in French.

___

MIU MIU'S QUIRKS

Perhaps the rain was keeping them away.

Miu Miu's once-formidable front row was more of a low key affair Tuesday — although singer Rita Ora, model Alexa Chung and socialite Olivia Palermo added glamour.

Yet the humor and eccentric contrasts associated with Prada's quirky little sister brand remained unchanged in the show itself, which featured blown-up prints and buttons.

Gigi Hadid, fresh from diverting Chanel's catwalk crasher, was back on the runway in one of the best early Miu Miu looks: A large white skirt that was crisply pleated with V-straps and lace-up PVC boots.

The proportions of an oversized black woolen menswear jacket were mirrored by its big blown-up buttons, and came above a ruffled split skirt and kinky green lace-up boots.

Elsewhere, pieces of contrasting-colored fabric appeared across busts or at the hip, as if blown onto the model by a gust of wind.

___

LOUIS VUITTON'S PLASMA SCREEN SHOW

Atmospheric drum beats echoed around the Louvre's landmark pyramids as celebrity guests who included Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jennifer Connelly and Alicia Vikander arrived for the Louis Vuitton show and attracted a swelling crowd of onlookers.

Inside the Carrousel du Louvre, the show venue, Louis Vuitton had constructed a minimalist plywood annex to display designer Nicolas Ghesquiere's spring designs.

If most of the set was minimalist, one editor commented, maybe it was because the fashion house spent exorbitantly for a state-of-the-art plasma screen that spanned a whole wall.

Beginning the show, the image of an androgynous-looking man suddenly appeared on the gargantuan screen and the display of looks started as he broke into song.

This hint of androgyny filtered into the unusually colorful show, one that turned the style dial back to both the 1970s and the Belle Epoque.

The first look of tailored 70s pants, multicolor sequined tank top and checked balloon sleeve had a chic column silhouette. It was also the first signal that Vuitton this season is moving in a looser, more fun direction.

Later, tailored jackets sported large silken taupe lapels in a nod to the styles of the turn of the last century.

Louie Vuitton said the show was a tribute to the Belle Epoque, @that vivacious time when Paris was pure enchantment."

Stars exploded colorfully on the plasma screen as styles filed by with as much color and sparkle.

A loose mini-dress, again with balloon sleeves, dazzled with prints of skies and wilting poppies, images Ghesquiere took from the Art Nouveau movement.

___

ISSEY MIYAKE'S NEW DESIGNER

Iconic Japanese designer Issey Miyake continues to exert great influence over the Japanese maison he founded in 1970.

Miyake has stepped in to appoint new designer Satoshi Kondo, the house said in a statement: "Mr. Miyake... has made a point of giving talented young designers within the company the opportunity to develop their skills."

But it's unclear why the designer since 2011, Yoshiyuki Miyamae, was replaced. Perhaps it was due to the lukewarm reception of his collections in recent years that some critics felt had lost their edginess.

In a curt explainer, the house said: "Regarding the change, it was a natural decision that came after the last show."

___

Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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