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FASHION

Men go for flower power at Paris fashion show

Menswear at Paris fashion on Friday took on a distinctly feminine feel with floral embroidery, skirts and sheer fabric at juun.j, Henrik Vibskov and Ann Demeulemeester.

Hard on the heels of Raf Simons on Wednesday, designers spurned overly masculine looks in favour of feminine silhouettes on day three of the men's collections for spring/summer 2014.

At South Korea's juun.j, models sporting lipstick and slicked down hair, wore a string of unisex designs such as oversized sheer shirts and tiny shorts teamed with tailored jackets in white and royal blue.

Accessories included oversized loop earrings and handbag-style gold lame ipad holders.

Henrik Vibskov continued the trend with a print dress, wrap skirt and black mini-dress worn over shorts.

And Ann Demeulemeester used delicate tumbling floral embroidery on jackets and trousers in multi-layered ensembles equally suited to men or women.

Dries Van Noten's collection late on Thursday was all about flowers with some looks featuring no less than three different floral prints.

The Antwerp-based ready-to-wear designer, who has never offered couture, will hold a retrospective next year at Paris's Museum of Decorative Arts.

"When you study history, sometimes it's acceptable for men to wear flowers and sometimes people consider it very feminine," the Belgian was quoted as saying by the fashion website nowfashion.com following a preparatory visit to the museum's archives.

It all began on Wednesday with Raf Simons who as well as having his own label is also artistic director at Christian Dior.

The Belgian designer used drop crotch garments to create the impression that models were wearing miniskirts or dresses.

Other ensembles had a similarly feminine feel courtesy of motifs embroidered with sequins and striped tunic tops in pink and purple.

Phillip Lim on Wednesday also relied heavily on floral designs.

The men's collections wrap up on Sunday with the much awaited second menswear collection for Saint Laurent by French designer Hedi Slimane.

Industry watchers will be looking to see if he continues with the grunge theme he chose for his menswear debut and also his second women's collection for the brand.

Credited with revolutionising menswear during his stint at Dior from 2000 to 2007, Slimane teamed jackets cut short with narrow trousers in an androgynous, pencil-thin look copied by mass-market designers worldwide that also spread to the rock world.

Stars Mick Jagger and Pete Doherty went on stage in Dior Homme, and even legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld shed 45 kilos (99 pounds) to be able to slide into a Slimane suit.

Then, on Monday, four days of couture collections get underway with the must-see collection of the season — Christian Lacroix's return to Paris fashion after a four-year absence.

The 1990s darling of fashion editors lost his house in 2009 after it ran up losses of around $15 million when it was hit by the sharp downturn in the luxury market.

He is making his return with a collection of 18 reinterpretations of pieces by the late Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli for the relaunched couture house.

Schiaparelli, whose greatest rival was Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and who died in 1973, was famed for her collaborations with Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau.

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Painful’ – is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Following a survey that said Paris Charles de Gaulle airport was the best in Europe, we asked Local readers what they thought...

'Painful' - is Paris Charles de Gaulle airport really that bad?

Recently, Paris Charles de Gaulle was voted the best airport in Europe by passengers.

The 2022 World Airport Awards, based on customer satisfaction surveys between September 2021 and May 2022, listed the best airport on the planet as Doha, while Paris’s main airport came in at number 6 – the highest entry for a European airport – one place above Munich. 

READ ALSO Paris Charles de Gaulle voted best airport in Europe by passengers

Given CDG’s long-standing reputation doesn’t quite match what the World Airport Awards survey said – in 2009 it was rated the second-worst airport in the world, while in 2011 US site CNN judged it “the most hated airport in the world” – we wondered how accurate the survey could be.

So we asked readers of The Local for their opinion on their experience of Europe’s ‘best’ airport. 

Contrary to the World Airport Awards study, users erred towards the negative about the airport. A total 30.8 percent of Local readers – who had travelled through the airport in recent months – thought it was ‘terrible’, while another 33.3 percent agreed that it was ‘not great’ and had ‘some problems’.

But in total 12.8 percent of those who responded to our survey thought the airport was ‘brilliant’, and another 23.1 percent thought it ‘fine’, with ‘no major problems’.

So what are the problems with it?

Signage 

One respondent asked a simple – and obvious – question: “Why are there so many terminal twos?”

Barney Lehrer added: “They should change the terminal number system.”

In fact, signage and directions – not to mention the sheer size of the place – were common complaints, as were onward travel options. 

Christine Charaudeau told us: “The signage is terrible. I’ve often followed signs that led to nowhere. Thankfully, I speak French and am familiar with the airport but for first time travellers … yikes!”

Edwin Walley added that it was, “impossible to get from point A to point B,”  as he described the logistics at the airport as the “worst in the world”.

And James Patterson had a piece of advice taken from another airport. “The signage could be better – they could take a cue from Heathrow in that regard.”

Anthony Schofield said: “Arriving by car/taxi is painful due to congestion and the walk from the skytrain to baggage claim seems interminable.”

Border control

Border control, too, was a cause for complaint. “The wait at the frontière is shameful,” Linda, who preferred to use just her first name, told us. “I waited one and a half hours standing, with a lot of old people.”

Sharon Dubble agreed. She wrote: “The wait time to navigate passport control and customs is abysmal!”

Deborah Mur, too, bemoaned the issue of, “the long, long wait to pass border control in Terminal E, especially at 6am after an overnight flight.”

Beth Van Hulst, meanwhile, pulled no punches with her estimation of border staff and the airport in general. “[It] takes forever to go through immigration, and staff deserve their grumpy reputation. Also, queuing is very unclear and people get blocked because the airport layout is not well designed.”

Jeff VanderWolk highlighted the, “inadequate staffing of immigration counters and security checkpoints”, while Karel Prinsloo had no time for the brusque attitudes among security and border personnel. “Officers at customs are so rude. I once confronted the commander about their terrible behaviour.  His response said it all: ‘We are not here to be nice’. Also the security personnel.”

Connections

One of the most-complained-about aspects is one that is not actually within the airport’s control – public transport connections.  

Mahesh Chaturvedula was just one of those to wonder about integrated travel systems in France, noting problems with the reliability of onward RER rail services, and access to the RER network from the terminal.

The airport is connected to the city via RER B, one of the capital’s notoriously slow and crowded suburban trains. Although there are plans to create a new high-speed service to the airport, this now won’t begin until after the 2024 Olympics.

Sekhar also called for, “more frequent trains from SNCF to different cities across France with respect to the international flight schedules.”

The good news

But it wasn’t all bad news for the airport, 35 percent of survey respondents said the airport had more positives than negatives, while a Twitter poll of local readers came out in favour of Charles de Gaulle.

Conceding that the airport is “too spread out”, Jim Lockard said it, “generally operates well; [and has] decent amenities for food and shopping”.

Declan Murphy was one of a number of respondents to praise the, “good services and hotels in terminals”, while Dean Millar – who last passed through Charles de Gaulle in October – said the, “signage is very good. [It is] easy to find my way around”.

He added: “Considering the size (very large) [of the airport] it is very well done.  So no complaints at all.”

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