PARIS (AFP) - While most of the northern hemisphere is eagerly awaiting spring and summer, on the Paris catwalks right now it's already about the following autumn and winter - and that season is forecast to be dark and leggy.
Such is the predominant look unfurled by some of the top brands including Dior, Kenzo, Lanvin, Balenciaga and Nina Ricci during Paris Fashion Week.
Givenchy, Stella McCartney, Hermes, Chanel, Valentino and Louis Vuitton were expected to confirm the trend before the event wraps up on Wednesday.
What to wear?
If you're looking to capture the essence of what the major stylists are getting at, a black outfit with a thigh-length jacket, or short dress maybe cinched with a belt and worn over pants or bare legs and black half boots will do the trick.
Gloves are also in - again, preferably black and long and holding any of the smaller handbags from the elite labels. Alexandre Vauthier, Dior, Dries Van Noten, Guy Laroche, Lanvin and Maison Margiela all pushed that aesthetic in their collections.
But, of course, black isn't the colour for all occasions or tastes. And so Balmain brought out some cheerful oranges and yellows, Issey Miyake offered loose-fitting fall colours like khaki and blue, and Loewe seemed to be determined to carry beach-friendly pastels into the coldest months.
Dress like the stars
Celebrity endorsement is a mighty mover to sell high-end clothes to the public, and there was no lack of star power at the Paris shows.
What were the brighter fashion flames attracting these mediatised moths? Kim Kardashian lent her aura to Lanvin and Balmain - an appearance made all the brighter by the reality TV star's transformation from brunette to platinum blonde.
At Balenciaga, Lady Gaga made the photographers' shutters click to a crescendo with her presence.
Dakota Johnson, star of the erotic melodrama Fifty Shades of Grey movie, flashed her blue eyes at Dior. And British designer Vivienne Westwood, who eschewed all the rules to present a raucous show replete with male models in "unisex" drag, attracted Solange Knowles and Bond girl Naomie Harris to her front row.
Real life doesn't have a backing track, unless you've got earbuds tucked in all the time. But the fashion shows do, and music is a big part of the spectacle.
Probably the most high-profile bit of musicking was from Kanye West, Kardashian's rapper husband, who announced in the middle of Paris Fashion Week that he was doing four charity concert performances in the city, featuring some tunes from his new album.
Others bringing live performance to the stage included Westwood, who found a punk band to channel Sex Pistol-style anarchy at her liberated show.
At Kenzo, stylist duo Humberto Leon and Carol Lim enlisted a British synthe-pop band, Saint Etienne, for their event. "Carol and I met when we were 18 listening to Saint Etienne so we're so excited that they came and made two new songs for us," Leon told reporters after the show on Sunday.