PARIS — It's "Bonjour Paris!" as the world's largest traveling circus dashes to the City of Light for the final snooty say on what's hot and what's not for Fall-Winter 2014-15.
The designer who famously put Gwyneth Paltrow in the ultra, ultra-revealing black gown on the cover of Harper's Bazaar — Anthony Vaccarello — was one of the biggest names on the first of nine days in the glamor marathon of 93 shows.
Though Tuesday showcases the up-and-comers of the Paris fashion scene and is often skipped by top editors, it's turning into the day to watch the stars of tomorrow.
GWYNETH PALTROW'S PICK IS UP TO HIS OLD TRICKS
He got squeaky clean Gwyneth Paltrow to bare her upper, upper thigh in 2012, and French designer Anthony Vaccarello seems set on sexualizing winter, too.
The collection started soberly enough with a season-appropriate oversize flying jacket, and leather bomber — after all winter is a time you should be wrapping up warm. But then came the micro skirts.
Asymmetrical minis that showed inches of legs, led on to scooped V-necks that revealed cleavage, hooker-like red PVC jackets, glossy black leather — and the grand finale: a sheer black top that revealed both breasts.
As ever, it was a bit brash and might be chilly for a December stroll, but this season produced an amazing new fashion idea: A band around the neck that looks like a turtle-neck with the shoulders slashed off.
It's probably too late for Paltrow to order it for the Oscars on Sunday.
PARIS STAGE FRIGHT FOR DEBUT DESIGNER
American designer Corrie Nielsen stood on the empty catwalk ahead of her debut Paris show with a look of sheer dread.
The bout of nerves was perhaps unsurprising, given she's moved her show from London to Paris, and it's seen as a huge leap up the fashion pecking order.
"You're bound to be nervous... It's been crazy," the designer said in an interview with The Associated Press. "To be recognized by the French in your work that's a huge achievement."
Since she won 2010's London Fashion Fringe award judged by Christian Dior's former couturier John Galliano, she's had an uphill trajectory.
"London, it's more street ... but here it's more about style. Paris recognizes quality, and they have a certain standard that they adhere to that you don't see anywhere else in the world," Nielsen said.
Despite the wobble and a model who got her stiletto heel caught in her gown during the show, Nielsen kept her sense of humor.
"Hell yeah, I'm having a drink. I'm going down to the pub. I'm going to find one I don't care where it is," she said, though she might have to look hard.
The show itself was full of the theatricality one expects from a designer who worked with British fashion icon Vivienne Westwood for several years.
And the mesh hairbands, voluminous retro peplums delivered sin space-air metallic sheen, ruffs and exaggerated round shoulders often looked inventive.
At times, however, the thick fabrics, big hips and weighty details in the pants made the silhouette look chunky even on these skinny models.
SPRING AND WINTER AT THE SAME TIME
It's sometimes strange to see the first signs of spring buds on trees in Paris, as the city plays host to myriad winter-themed collections.
French designer Christine Phung brought home the message of the fashion contradiction very literally in an Alpine collection with ski goggles in a swelteringly hot room.
The first looks were the strongest — geometric patterns with a winter sports-kick on sweaters and jackets, and hazy gentle prints of snowy trees.
She lost her way a little as the collection progressed into varied styles, including some Japanese-themed looks.
But one ensemble that looked like a karate jacket and black belt and which kept its femininity with a deep V-neck and mini — was a great look.
FLY ME TO THE MOON YOUNG HEE
In one of the strongest shows of the day, South Korean designer Moon Young Hee played on texture, oversized proportion and contrasting fabrics with panache.
Lapels on black jackets unfurled like opening flowers.
While sheer gazar undergarments gave varied opacity, underneath velvet appearing like the contrasting textures in flora.
Elsewhere there was Great Gatsby-style glamour in sparkling embroidered beads and ruffled silks mixed with menswear jackets.
Such is the designer's mastery that one fashion faux-pas: mixing brown, gray and beige in the same look, she even managed to pull off.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at https://twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP