By THOMAS ADAMSON
2014-02-28 03:22 AM
PARIS (AP) -- She may sing "Please Don't Stop The Music," but the music at the Balmain show had well and truly stopped when seven-time Grammy Award-winner Rihanna sneaked in the back door, after everyone had left.
That is, apart from a handful of people.
Here are the highlights of Thursday's fall-winter ready-to-wear shows.
RIHANNA'S SURPRISE VISIT AT BALMAIN
The singer, who had plum lips and wore a revealingly plunging terre verte belted Balmain jacket, arrived at Paris' Hotel de Ville with heavy security, and was greeted by friend and designer Olivier Rousteign, who hugged her and gushed: "She's the hottest girl in the world."
The well-dressed Barbadian superstar has her eyes set on the fashion industry -- and not just as the face of Balmain.
She caused a stir earlier this month when she said wants to launch her own fashion label.
And when asked Thursday if she was here to get inspiration for her own brand, she hinted she's attending Paris Fashion Week to get ideas.
"I love Balmain and can be inspired by (Rousteign's) clothes. I'm inspired by everything here (in Paris)," she told the Associated Press, her only comments before being whisked away.
Rihanna is no stranger to the industry: she's created collections for two fashion labels before for Armani in 2011, and for high-street brand River Island. She may hope to tread a path similar to rapper Kanye West, who now has his own fashion brand, shows in Paris and is a regular attendee at runway shows.
Could this be a reconnaissance mission?
BALMAIN SAYS 'L'AFRIQUE, C'EST CHIC'
Zebra stripes, leopard print, beaded jackets missed with khaki colors, flak pockets and safari pants.
Yes, this was Africa: at least, Balmain's opulent and decadent version of it.
And the exotic musing helped Rousteign produce what was a subtler collection than usual.
The brashness was still there of course in a citrus yellow fleece sweater or the waists which were cinched to within an inch of life.
But the fall-winter collection saw some of the best looks seen so far this season, like a petrol blue knotted rope sheath with a regal-feel twinned with beige cuffs that resembled African bracelets.
L'afrique, c'est chic!
The Nina Ricci show progressed from covered up chic to complete see-through in a feminine show that channeled designer Peter Copping's fascination with the vintage and romantic.
And, of course, the signature flowers.
Nostalgic colors like silvery purple, deep plum and burgundy mixed up with sequined dresses with hints of the 1930s. Elsewhere, there were some dropped waists and one great black and white flying jacket with huge 1970s lapels.
The use of fur was notable, appearing inventively as luxuriant streaks or insets on capes and jackets.
The final series of sheer gowns had a prudish sensuality that might have been borrowed from Valentino.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP