Paris Fashion Week kicks off with Anthony Vaccarello

Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

PARIS -- Paris Fashion Week kicked off Tuesday and there is a lot to look out for this season in the fall 2014 collections.

The biggest news is the debut of a new designer at luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton. Last season, Marc Jacobs decided to leave the label to focus on his own namesake brand.

His replacement is Nicolas Ghesquiere, the future-thinking designer who thrilled us with his Space Age designs at Balenciaga.

Ghesquiere will present his first runway collection for Vuitton on March 5, the final day of fashion week.

Until then, there are lots of collections to see.

My first collection was Anthony Vaccarello on Tuesday night.

Vaccarello, a favorite of Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow and other thrill-seeking celebrity clotheshorses, is on the rise. The Belgian designer was tapped by Donatella Versace to be the latest to guest-design for her Versus line, and his outing for the Italian label will come later this year.

In the meantime, for his own namesake collection on Tuesday, Vaccarello proved why he is such a good fit for Versace.

He stayed true to his super tight-and-short aesthetic but expanded his repertoire with lots of tailored pieces, including trim shearling coats and stovepipe trousers, menswear-inspired oversized jackets and knits.

But the dominant piece was a slit skirt so short it looked barely legal, with different zipper or flounce details at the hip.

The slit skirt is a major trend for the season. It has also been seen at Altuzarra (where it is one of the designer's signature silhouettes), in Olivier Theyskens' Theory collection and elsewhere.

Here's the lowdown on the rest of the Vaccarello collection.

The look: Haute biker babe.

Key pieces: Micro-mini slit skirts with zipper or flounce details. Oversized leather jackets with glossy red paneling. Sweaters with shard-like mirrored appliques or scattered sequins. Single-sleeve mini dresses with tricked out details for hot tricks.

The verdict: It's clear Vaccarello is thinking about how to extend his vision past the red carpet. The knitwear and tailored pieces were strong additions and should make his collection more widely appealing. In other words, even if you don't have Gywneth's legs, it's worth a look.


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