Alexander McQueen's autumn/winter collection, which was presented in an arresting visual spectacle, reworks key looks from his own archive and those of other labels
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It was accompanied by extravagant hats from top milliner Philip Treacy, made from 'found' objects such as umbrellas
Photo: © Getty Images

At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld's 'Belle Brummel' collection featured frou frou elements like lacey cuffs, ruffled collars and fluttering chiffon hemlines
Photo: © Getty Images

Alexander McQueen's dramatic collection steals the show in Paris

11 MARCH 2009
Watch the McQueen show

Footage from the Valentino collection

First timers in the audience at Alexander McQueen's autumn/winter ready-to-wear show in Paris received a fabulous initiation into the East End-born designer's weird and wonderful world.

Entitled "Everything and the kitchen sink", the theatrical show was presented as an "ironic and illusory exploration of reinvention" and revolved around a vast collection of props from past shows piled on the catwalk.

Alexander took a look back at his own design archive and staples from other fashion houses, presenting Dior-esque, houndstooth suits and Escher-inspired print gowns. The collection also included a topsy turvy element, with tops and bottoms reversed.

Accessorising outfits worn by models sporting a dramatic slash of scarlet lipstick were Philip Treacy hats masterfully constructed out of familiar objects, ranging from umbrellas to dustbin lids.

Also harking back to yesteryear was Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel. Using Beau Brummel - King George IV's dandy pal, who is credited with inventing the suit – as his starting point, the German entitled his look 'Belle Brummel'. The result was a collection marked by frou-frou detailing in lacy cuffs, high ruffled collars and fluttering chiffon hems.

In front of a celebrity-packed front row that included Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Freida Pinto, models showcased a predominantly black and white collection which included several LBDs – which are emerging as one of next season's strongest elements. Enlivening the largely monochrome palette were fluffy knitwear items in sugary pinks and greens.

At Valentino Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli had built their proposal for autumn/winter on a Sixties silhouette, with A-line day coats, chiffon gowns and block Jackie O-esque sheath dresses.

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