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Spring, Electricity In The Air In Couture Day 1

The show saw multi-layered flower embroideries and detailing that increased â¿¿ like a blossom â¿¿ as the 47 looks progressed. It was a nice idea, but detailed gold, yellow and blue appliques sometimes detracted from the gowns.

The collection's subtlety was to be found, instead, in Simons' exploration of sections and layers through color.

Apart from the staple hourglass shape that's familiar Dior territory, Simons experimented away from the house DNA, with colored sections on ensembles which seemed to grow in stages, like a plant shoot.

This produced some of the show's best looks, like strips of pale lemon, off-white and pale lilac, which broke up one embroidered, black silk bustier. Or one silk ball skirt that expanded out at a line, like an organic growth spurt.

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Iris Van Herpen's electrifying haute couture show should have come with a warning sign: Danger High Voltage.

A mysterious black statue in a dimly lit Parisian salon awaited revelers who suddenly gasped as this "statue" began to move; the figure was in fact a performer inside a black body stocking, standing on a Tesla coil.

Then followed one of the most unforgettable â¿¿and frightening â¿¿ displays seen in recent couture memory: the electricity was turned on and this figure lit up like lightning.

As if straight out of a scene from the movie "X-Men," long electrical sparks shot out in all directions for several minutes.

In 11 dynamic looks, Van Herpen continued her signature exploration of organic life. This was, as ever, twinned with a dash of poetic license, all to produce one of her strongest shows to date.

White trapezoid silhouettes with all-over spiky appliques perfectly evoked the high-energy fuzz of a voltage current.

But it was the electric human that stole the show.

MAURIZIO GALANTE

Maurizio Galante is inspired by nature.

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