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Dior puts on dancing shoes to kick off Paris Fashion Week

Dance and theatricality were at the heart Paris Fashion Week's first day of spring shows, as American stars Blake Lively and Shailene Woodley gushed over Dior's balletic presentation at the famed Longchamps race-course. Gucci is holding its evening spectacle at France's answer to Studio 54, the iconic Le Palace — once the club that showcased fashion's most dramatic looks.

Here are some highlights from Monday:

DIOR'S ODE TO DANCE

To clouds of falling white petals, dancers clad in patterned body suits twisted gracefully to the clicking sound of a metronome.

This season, Dior turned to dance to produce the music and visuals for its spring-summer collection, infused with diaphanous, tulle-rich gowns.

The house enlisted the talents of choreographer Sharon Eyal for a sublime and balletic contemporary dance performance that ran throughout the spring-summer show.

It had the star of "Divergent" and "Big Little Lies," Shailene Woodley, floored.

"You marry dance with fashion and movement and you have a visceral, overwhelming experience," Woodley told The Associated Press.

The runway hall was spacious enough to house the dozen roving dancers thanks to a marquee constructed in the grounds of the historic Longchamps racecourse, which dates to the 19th century and has been the site of some of former Dior designer John Galliano's most memorable couture shows.

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BALLETIC LOOKS

As ethereal as a layer of tulle, with the corset replaced by a simple tank top.

That's how the House of Dior described the key idea behind designer Maria Grazia Chiuri's soft and supple 87-piece show in monochrome and nude.

Few risks were taken in this display.

But this didn't matter since the fashion, inspired by a dancer's wardrobe, was primarily aimed at being simple and feminine.

Jumpsuits, straps and cords featured on silhouettes that were either tight on the torso, evoking a leotard, or diaphanous and floaty, channeling a tutu.

Ballet slippers evoked the dance tradition very literally, while open toe heels featured crisscross strapping in a take on a ballerina's shoe.

There was a softness to the entire show, and the dappled and misty lighting added romance.

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LVMH TO REVIVE JEAN PATOU

France's luxury giant LVMH has told the AP it will revive the iconic fashion house of Jean Patou.

One of France's most famous couturiers in between the two World Wars, Patou was credited with popularizing the cardigan, inventing the tennis skirt and killing the flapper style. His house was most closely associated with the perfume "Joy," a rival to Chanel's No. 5 as one of the world's most popular fragrances.

For the relaunch, designer Guillaume Henry, who once revived Carven and worked recently at Nina Ricci, has been appointed as artistic director.

It's the latest in a series of iconic French house relaunches in recent years, including Schiaparelli, Courreges and Poiret.

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JACQUEMUS

Striped bikinis and giant hessian bags provided the fun at Jacquemus' simple clothes collection.

It was perhaps less fun for the scantily-clad models who braved the cold September weather on the outdoor catwalk in Paris' Italian Embassy.

Loose silhouettes and large hoopla earrings gave the collection a confident swagger — a little like the 28-year-old wunderkind designer Simon Porte Jacquemus himself.

Oversized pieces of draped fabric that descended from the bust to floor, and giant skirt frills that ran diagonally down the body, provided the collection's more creative moments.

The collection perhaps lacked the feeling of luxury normally associated with the Paris catwalks, but it felt fresh and youthful.

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Thomas Adamson is at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

Rockers Blondie to play Cuba on four-day cultural exchange

Blondie will be playing two nights in Cuba next March as part of a four-day cultural exchange program, and fans can come along.

The iconic rock group announced Monday that they will play two concerts during their March 14-18 visit in Havana, which will also feature Cuban musicians Alain Perez, David Torrens and Sintesis.

The organizer, Dreamcatcher Events, is licensed as required under current U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. The program will also include visits to Cuban museums and cultural institutions, studios and galleries and photography and architecture tours. Pricing for the trip, which includes a hotel reservation, ranges from $2,700 to $5,600.

Blondie drummer Clem Burke says the band has been experimenting with Caribbean sounds for years on songs like, "Rapture" and "The Tide Is High" and they've always loved Cuban music.

Celine Dion to end Las Vegas concert residency next year

Celine Dion has announced she will end her Las Vegas residency next year.

The singer announced on social media Monday that she will leave Caesars Palace in June 2019.

Dion says the decision brings mixed emotions as the Colosseum venue has been a big part of her life for the past 20 years.

This will mark the end of her second long-running residency at Caesars Palace.

Dion has performed nearly 1,100 shows there since 2003. The first time was from 2003 until 2007. Her current residency began in 2011.

Tickets for next year's shows go on sale Tuesday.

Her final concert will be June 8, 2019.

Argument over Bruno Mars song leads to assault, arrest

Blame it on his confidence.

>> Read more trending news 

An Indiana man was arrested for battery and criminal recklessness after a dispute over a Bruno Mars song, WXIN reported.

Roger Washburn, 71, is charged with hitting a friend in the face with a pistol, the television station reported. The gun discharged during the argument but no one was hurt, police said.

According to a report from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, late Friday night Washburn and two friends began arguing over whether a certain song was performed by Mars. One man, who told police that they have all been friends for 50 years, said he told Washburn the song was performed by Mars and that Washburn disagreed, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The argument escalated after the victim proved the song was indeed a Mars number. The man told police Washburn then pulled out a .38 revolver and hit him in the forearm and right cheek, WXIN reported, causing the revolver to discharge.

It was unclear what song was being debated.

The victim left and reported the incident several hours later, the television station reported.

According to the police report, the victim had “a small gouge on his right cheek, blood on his pants, shirt and a red abrasion on his right forearm.” 

Psychologist: Cosby a predator with uncontrollable urges

Bill Cosby's sentencing hearing opened Monday with a debate over whether the 81-year-old comedian should be declared a "sexually violent predator" — a scarlet letter that would make him subject to mandatory lifetime counseling and community notification of his whereabouts.

Cosby, who faces up to 30 years in prison for drugging and molesting a Temple University women's basketball administrator in 2004, fought the prosecution's effort to classify him as a predator under state law.

Kristen Dudley, a Pennsylvania state board psychologist, testified that Cosby has an uncontrollable urge to violate young women and would probably commit another offense if given the chance. Dudley added that Cosby's assault of Andrea Constand fits a long pattern of predatory behavior by the former "Cosby Show" star.

Cosby often befriended women, then betrayed their trust by sedating them with drugs or alcohol and violating them for the "sole purpose of his sexual gratification," Dudley testified.

Trying to avoid the predator designation for their client, Cosby's lawyers argued that the state law itself is unconstitutional. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere have repeatedly rewritten their sex-offender reporting laws after courts found them vague and unfairly punitive.

Prosecutors told Judge Steven O'Neill the law is necessary for public safety, and the judge allowed the hearing on Cosby's status to proceed.

The defense contended that Cosby is unlikely to commit another crime because of his advanced age and health — he is legally blind and uses a cane — and because there have been no new complaints to authorities since Constand came forward in 2005.

The legal wrangling came at the start of a hearing that will determine how the comedian once known as America's Dad will be punished for knocking Constand out with pills and assaulting her at his suburban Philadelphia home more than 14 years ago.

The proceeding took place as another extraordinary #MeToo drama continued to unfold on Capitol Hill, where Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh faces allegations of sexual misconduct from more than three decades ago.

Cosby was the first celebrity to go to trial in the #MeToo era and could be the first to go to prison — perhaps for the rest of his days — after being convicted in April.

Cosby, looking grim, walked into the courthouse on the arm of his longtime spokesman as protesters shouted at him. Constand arrived a short time later.

At the end of a hearing that could last two days, the judge could sentence Cosby to as much as 30 years in prison or send him home on probation. The state guidelines for someone like Cosby, with no prior convictions, call for about one to four years behind bars.

"Obviously, the allegations are serious, and, except for his age and poor health, would normally warrant some jail time," said Samuel Stretton, a veteran defense lawyer not connected to the case.

In the years since Constand first went to police in 2005, more than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual misconduct, though none of those claims have led to criminal charges. At least two of those women, Lise-Lotte Lublin and former model Janice Dickinson, were among those in the courtroom Monday.

Prosecutors had hoped to have some of the other accusers address the court at sentencing. But the district attorney's office told The Associated Press on Monday that that would not happen.

It remained unclear whether Constand or Cosby would speak at the sentencing.

A few hours before the hearingn, Constand tweeted Ephesians 4:26, a Bible verse about letting go of anger: "Be wrathful, but do not sin; do not let the sun set while you are still angry; do not give the Devil an opportunity."

Cosby, who grew up in public housing in Philadelphia, became the first black actor to star in a prime-time TV show, "I Spy," in 1965. He remained a Hollywood A-lister for much of the next half-century, hitting his peak in the 1980s with the top-rated "Cosby Show" as the warm, wisecracking dad, Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

The AP does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they come forward publicly, which Constand and other accusers have done.

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For more coverage, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/BillCosby

Latest stunt near Grand Canyon is a Will Smith bungee jump

At the end of the 1991 movie "Thelma & Louise," the two leading ladies — fugitives cornered by authorities in the Grand Canyon — decide against surrendering and instead drive off a cliff.

One of cinema's most iconic endings wasn't filmed in the national park in Arizona, but not for lack of trying.

"We didn't want to encourage people coming into the canyon doing what was done in the movie, so we declined it," said Maureen Oltrogge, a longtime spokeswoman for the national park who retired in 2014.

Nevertheless, Oltrogge said at least two people took their own lives by driving over the rim of the Grand Canyon after the movie was released, thinking it was filmed there.

The landscape in and around one of the world's seven natural wonders has a long history of stunts being staged — or turned down. An acrobat, a magician and overall daredevils are among those who have approached Grand Canyon National Park over the years with visions of a made-for-TV moment.

The latest planned feat comes Tuesday, when actor Will Smith celebrates his 50th birthday by bungee jumping from a helicopter. While it's been billed as a leap "in the heart of the Grand Canyon," it actually will take place over a smaller gorge on the Navajo Nation, a tribe whose reservation borders the east rim of the national park.

Getting permission to film or stage something in the Grand Canyon means meeting a lot of criteria. Among the outrageous proposals the park has declined was in the 1990s, when now-deceased artist Ron Nicolino collected thousands of bras that he wanted to string across the Grand Canyon. The park said no.

Grand Canyon spokeswoman Kari Cobb said Smith did not approach the park for the bungee jump, but it wouldn't be allowed anyway. She said the park is responsible for protecting its assets.

"It's everything relating to safety, impacts to visitors and impacts to the resources," she said.

Oltrogge said other filming projects were turned down because of their size, the impact to tourism and because they didn't align with the park's educational values. The park also has rejected requests for ride-along criminal justice programs, and to launch jet engines from rim to rim.

Todd Berger, author of "It Happened at Grand Canyon," says the earliest-known publicized stunt he can recall from his research of the Grand Canyon was an airplane landing near Plateau Point in the early 1920s. Ellsworth Kolb and a swashbuckling pilot took off from the plateau below the South Rim and "spiraled" up and out of the canyon in front of large crowds and cameras.

The Grand Canyon is alluring for promotional purpose because it's "world-famous, spectacular and scary to most people," Berger said in an email.

In 1999 and 2011, Robbie Knievel, the son of stunt performer Evel Knievel, and Swiss aviator Yves Rossy, respectively, approached Grand Canyon National Park with requests to jump part of the canyon and soar over it in a jet suit.

After being rejected, both men went to the Hualapai Tribe, whose reservation stretches 100 miles (160 kilometers) along the Grand Canyon's west rim. The tribe agreed, and both successfully completed their feats.

The Hualapai also allowed illusionist Criss Angel in 2010 to be shackled and locked inside a crate that was suspended over the edge of the Grand Canyon.

The tribe is best-known for its Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that juts over the canyon overlooking the Colorado River. The tribe's Grand Canyon Resort Corp. said any event must be respectful of Hualapai culture and consistent with its brand.

"Our Tribal Council would need to approve any proposal, and that's a high bar," CEO Colin McBeath said in a statement. "We want to protect the canyon and the businesses we have worked so hard to establish and grow."

Robert Bravo Jr., a tribal member who has served as the corporation's chief executive and as a member of its board, said the stunts had been a way to showcase to the tribe to the world. Special permission for filming and photos also is needed.

"They were necessary to really promote what we have and who we are," he said. "But now that we're on the map, it's not as much of a necessity."

One request the Hualapai declined was when aerial artist Nik Wallenda wanted to walk a tightrope over the canyon in 2013. Bravo said it was too risky.

"The canyon is very sacred and very spiritual to the Hualapai people, and God forbid something happen to him while he's out there," he said.

Wallenda ended up getting permission from the Navajo Nation to walk a 5-centimeter-thick steel cable 1,476 feet (450 meters) over the Little Colorado River gorge, just east of Grand Canyon National Park. The roughly 22-minute act was broadcast live on the Discovery Channel.

That is where Smith will be making his big leap.

Navajo Nation spokesman Mihio Manus said any stunt or filming project in the tribe's Little Colorado River park requires a special permit. Applicants outline their plans and fill out paperwork. If a department manager approves, they talk about the scope of the event and location. Environmental and wildlife officials also weigh in before a permit can be issued and a fee assessed.

Manus declined to comment on Smith's jump.

The "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" actor teamed up with charity website Omaze to make his bungee jump a fundraiser. The site launched a lottery for a fan to be chosen to witness the jump and meet Smith. Attempts to reach Smith were unsuccessful.

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Tang reported from Phoenix.

Mystery around disappearance of Chinese star Fan Bingbing

X-Men star Fan Bingbing's Beijing management office is dark and abandoned. Her birthday passed almost unremarked in China's hyper-adrenalized social media environment.

For one of China's best known stars and a rising Hollywood actress, Fan's vanishing is stunning, coming amid vague allegations of tax fraud and possibly other infractions that could have put her at odds with Chinese authorities.

Fan has starred in dozens of movies and TV series in China and is best known internationally for her role as Blink in 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past," a cameo in the Chinese version of "Iron Man 3," and star turns on the red carpet at Cannes as recently as May. She was booked to star with Penelope Cruz in the Hollywood film "355" and has a role in the upcoming Bruce Willis-Adrien Brody feature "Air Strike."

Yet for nearly three months, Fan hasn't been seen or heard from in public in any verifiable way.

One of China's wealthiest entertainers, Fan pulled down tens of millions of dollars for her roles, along with handsome sums in appearance fees and product endorsements. Some of those contracts may have landed her in hot water with the authorities.

Fan's name has been mentioned in reports about a reportedly common entertainment industry practice — an actor having a public contract stating an official salary and a private contract detailing the true, much higher payday. A talk show host, Cui Yongyuan had said in May that Fan had such an arrangement — which allegedly helps facilitate tax evasion — and revealed details that sparked a public outcry. Cui later apologized.

At Fan's management office in Beijing's Dongcheng district, doors are locked, the lights are out and a calendar hanging alongside posters advertising Fan's film appearances is still turned to July. A worker at an office across the hall said she couldn't remember the last time she'd seen anyone enter the company premises.

Fan turned 37 on Sept. 16, but only a handful of entertainment notables sent greetings online, a stark break from the past when her birthday celebrations were lavish, well-attended affairs, marked last year by a public marriage proposal from boyfriend Li Chen.

An automatic birthday greeting on her once-active account on Weibo, China's main microblogging service, was apparently deleted by persons unknown.

Shi Shusi, a columnist and commentator on Chinese popular culture, suggests Fan's high profile was her undoing, having made her a target for officials wishing to set an example for would-be tax cheats amid China's slowing economy.

"Such a famous actress and no one knows her whereabouts. And no authorities have made any clarifications. This is the real suspense," Shi said.

Fan's disappearance even brought a message of concern from Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times tabloid known for its hard-line pro-Communist Party nationalist opinions.

"A timely clarification and public notification of Fan Bingbing's status would also be beneficial to setting the record straight internationally," Hu wrote on his Weibo account on Sept. 15.

Back in June, Fan's production company denied Fan had ever a signed a "yinyang" contract, so named because of its dual natures. Fan, her production company and her agent could not be reached for more recent comment. Police rarely acknowledge such investigations are taking place until a conclusion has been reached.

Her disappearance had come as Chinese authorities seek to rein in high salaries for actors that can eat up much of the cost of a production. In June, regulators capped star pay at 40 percent of a TV show's entire production budget and 70 percent of the total paid to all the actors in a film.

Though China has become the world's second-largest film market, authorities keep tight control on local productions, exercising final say over choice of cast, director and script. If Fan had stepped on official toes, it would be a simple task to retaliate by destroying her career, with Chinese authorities wielding broad powers to detain, interrogate and accuse citizens out of the public eye.

Other celebrities have run afoul of authorities over drug use, excessive pay or tax issues, said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group based in Shanghai.

"Then the government really cracks down hard and pretty much destroys their careers for several years if not forever," Rein said. Companies that bet big on a-list Chinese celebrities incur a "huge political risk," he said.

Known as a classical Chinese beauty with almond eyes and porcelain skin, Fan, 36, usually maintains a prominent presence on Weibo, where she has more than 62 million followers. Her account has been largely dormant for weeks, however, with a July 26 "like" about a posting on her charitable foundation being the last activity prior to the deletion of her birthday notice. Photos on social media also appear to show her visiting a pediatric cardiac ward at a Shanghai hospital for a charity event on July 1.

The strongest clue to Fan's status may have been a Sept. 6 notice posted on the website of the Securities Daily, a newspaper published by the official Economic Daily. It stated that the local tax bureau had sent a notice to Fan's studio that she had been "placed under control" — a legal term for being held under investigation. The article was later deleted from the website.

Fan's disappearance has already taken a toll on her lucrative sideline as brand ambassador, throwing those companies' plans into disarray. Australian vitamin brand Swisse issued a statement saying it was suspending use of her image and "continuing to monitor the situation and hope that it is resolved in the near future."

British diamond giant De Beers, who signed with Fang just last year, appears to have already moved on: Another actress, Gao Yuanyuan, represented the company at a store opening last month in the ancient capital of Xi'an. Other firms she endorsed, from duty-free chain King Power to Louis Vuitton and Montblanc are also taking action. "

"There's a lot more risk for celebrities in China than in the United States, because the government takes much more of a moral crackdown," said China Market Research's Rein. "So there's a greater risk for celebrities to get in trouble with the law and never be able to get a chance at redemption."

Actor James Woods bashes Twitter after getting locked out

Actor James Woods has been locked out of his Twitter account over a tweet he sent out months ago that was found to be in violation of Twitter's rules.

The tweet was posted July 20 and includes a hoax meme that said it came from Democrats and encouraged men not to vote in the midterm elections. Woods got an email from Twitter on Thursday saying the tweet "has the potential to be misleading in a way that could impact an election." The email says Woods can use his account again if he deletes the tweet.

In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Woods said this means he'll be allowed back on Twitter only if he decides to do what Twitter says. He says he won't do that, and he won't delete the tweet.

"Free speech is free speech — it's not Jack Dorsey's version of free speech," Woods said, referring to Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey.

Twitter said it doesn't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons. A spokesman for the social media platform said by email that he had nothing more to share when asked if Dorsey would respond directly to Wood's comments.

"The irony is, Twitter accused me of affecting the political process, when in fact, their banning of me is the truly egregious interference," Woods said. "Because now, having your voice smothered is much more disturbing than having your vocal chords slit. If you want to kill my free speech, man up and slit my throat with a knife, don't smother me with a pillow."

Woods said if he deletes the tweet, it would force him to watch his step with everything he says in the future, chilling free speech. The email Woods received from Twitter said Woods would be suspended from the social media platform permanently if there are repeated abuses.

He noted that his original tweet was reposted by his girlfriend on Friday and had been retweeted thousands of times by Sunday. His girlfriend's account wasn't locked, which he said was proof that he'd been singled out because of his large Twitter following.

Woods, who has more than 100 acting credits to his name and starred in several movies including "Salvador," ''Ghosts of Mississippi" and "Casino," has more than 1.7 million Twitter followers and is known for his conservative political views. His Twitter page is still online, though he can't access it. Many of his recent tweets include his views of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her decades ago.

The meme that Woods posted in July said #LetWomenDecide and #NoMenMidterm. It claimed to be from a Democratic group, but it was determined to be a hoax campaign to encourage liberal men not to vote in November, according to the website knowyourmeme.com.

Woods called it a parody. In his tweet, he acknowledged the meme likely wasn't real, saying: "Pretty scary that there is a distinct possibility this could be real. Not likely, but in this day and age of absolute liberal insanity, it is at least possible ..."

The tweet is considered to be material that would suppress votes or deliberately deceive, and was found to be in violation of Twitter rules.

Social media companies like Twitter have come under pressure to get hate speech and posts that could influence elections offline, learning quickly that they can't please everyone as they try to act as gatekeepers of discourse. Dorsey testified before the GOP-led House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this month, as the committee examined whether Twitter has censored conservatives.

The AP reached Woods on Sunday through his girlfriend's Twitter account. After he shared information over messaging, he agreed to have a FaceTime conversation so the AP could verify his identity.

Woods said he wants open discourse, and called the situation a dangerous one for free speech.

"I wish this were about an unknown Twitter user so that I could be even more passionate about it," Woods said. "This is not about a celebrity being muzzled. This is about an American being silenced — one tweet at a time."

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Follow Amy Forliti on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/amyforliti . More of her work at https://apnews.com/search/amy%20forliti

Cosby accusers say they hope he is sentenced to jail time

Two of the women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault decades ago said Sunday they hope he will be sentenced to prison time this week.

Lise-Lotte Lublin and Chelan Lasha, who appeared with attorney Gloria Allred, also said they hoped they would be allowed to read victim impact statements before Cosby is sentenced on three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault .

Cosby was convicted of drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004 in what became the first celebrity trial of the #MeToo era. A two day-sentencing hearing begins Monday in Montgomery County.

"I really think it's important that he spend some time behind bars," said Lublin, who said Cosby assaulted her when she was 23 in 1989. The then-model said Cosby prodded her to take two drinks to relax. "At some point, he should acknowledge what he's done, and do the time for the crime."

Lasha, who wept during her testimony at the trial last spring, said she prays Cosby is sentenced to 30 years. "He deserves every year."

Lasha said she was a teenage aspiring actress in 1986 when she lay immobilized and unable to speak as Cosby touched her breast and rubbed himself against her leg. She said he gave her a pill he described as an antihistamine.

"He ruined my life at 17 years old," Lasha said. "I have nightmares about it this very day, and I want them to go away, just like him."

More than 60 other women accuse Cosby of sexual misconduct during his 50-year show business career. Five were allowed to testify, while others came to watch the court proceedings.

Allred said she believed the sentencing would be "sending a message" in the #MeToo era. She said Cosby should be sentenced to "a substantial period of time," shouldn't receive probation or house arrest, and shouldn't remain free pending appeal.

"Mr. Cosby should not be treated differently because he is a celebrity," she said. "Judgment day has finally arrived for this convicted sexual predator who betrayed the trust of so many women."

Lawyers for the 81-year-old, legally blind Cosby are expected to stress his age, health problems, legacy and philanthropy. Prosecutors hope to call other accusers to paint Cosby as a sexual predator deserving of prison.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Lublin and Lasha have done.

Dolce&Gabbana explore DNA with star-filled cast

Milan designers are embracing women of all shapes, sizes and ages, even if the young, thin model prevailed during this week's previews for next spring and summer.

Marni's runway included women of different sizes while Dolce & Gabbana continued their embrace of models in a range of ages and sizes for their DNA runway show on Sunday.

Highlights from Sunday's show, the fifth day of previews of womenswear for next spring and summer:

DOLCE & GABBANA PAY TRIBUTE TO HERITAGE

Dolce & Gabbana retraced their DNA by bringing back some of their most famous models: Carla Bruni in a brocade suit, Monica Belluci in a fitted polka-dot dress, Eva Herzigova in a frothy black chiffon number, and a caped Isabel Rosselilni, who walked with her children Roberto and Elettra carrying her young son.

In the brand's bid for inclusion, they sent grandmothers with granddaughters, husbands and wives, lesbian couples and curvy models, including Ashley Graham.

Cardi B kept a careful eye on the collection from her front-row seat, taking off her animal skin-covered D&G sunglasses to take in the steady stream of flash. Her eyes stayed glued on an embroidered shawl jacket with mini-skirt, mouthing, "I like that," with a sassy shoulder shake.

The elaborate collection by Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana displayed the designers' unrivaled aptitude for over-the-top looks with a something-for-everyone range. There were pretty layered floral dresses with jeweled sandals, bejeweled biker jackets with tuxedo tails, raw jute fabrics in fringed day suits and tiered dresses in sparkly organza.

While the collection incorporated the duo's well-known motifs, including prints of the Madonna, Sicilian references and floral prints, there was also a pointed message on one netted top: "Fatto a Mano," or "handmade," to underline the commitment to craftsmanship.

The designers also provided a subtle hint of an upcoming project for Milan and Rome: a Christmas market inside the Rinascente department stores featuring Dolce&Gabbana styled appliances and their own range of the Milan Christmas cake, panettone, with flavors from their beloved Sicily. The hints included a Santa Claus figurine carried by a model and a print that echoes the unique panettone tin.

THE LIGHTNESS OF BEING ARMANI

Giorgio Armani's collection for next spring and summer was meticulously sculptured out of iridescent, dreamy blue, gray and pink textiles that collect the light. The main point of contrast, a bright fuchsia, which has become the power color of the season in Milan.

The looks had what the designer called "a liquid lightness," derived from a range of understated colors — save for a touch of fuchsia.

"It is all mixed and very subtle in terms of colors. The color this time gave form to the clothes," Armani said backstage.

The silhouette was elongated, often with a layer of organza that wrapped the figure or was layered over trousers for a misty effect. A plexiglass bustier gave shape to a micro-pleated dress.

Armani continued his mastery of the jacket with fluid jackets over straight trousers, or slim-fitting leather jackets with trousers colorful water color prints, and blousons with a long layer of tulle spilling out. One dramatic cape-like jacket had exaggerated military detailing on the shoulders, worn over a shimmering organza fitted suit.

The collection had futuristic touches, from a cellophane look on footwear to mesh carryalls.

"This is a woman who wants to be noticed," the designer said. "She doesn't slink away dressed as a man."

Armani saluted the crowd wearing a jacket and tie instead of his usual dark blue T-shirt or sweater.

"You didn't recognize me, did you?" he joked backstage.

MARNI'S WAKEUP CALL

The fashion crowd woke up early Sunday for a fashion call, only to go back to bed in the Marni showroom. Designer Francesco Risso's latest kooky seating arrangement was a series of beds in the shape of an amphitheater.

Risso was exploring the classics in more ways than one. The silhouette was mostly classic and tailored, with edgy touches that gave the collection the air of a desperate, punk housewife. But he also incorporated elements from the ancient classical world, including prints with architectural elements — a departure from Marni's traditional florals — and jewelry shaped like the Venus de Milo.

The art was all in the construction. Skirts were swept up like a sarong, worn with off the shoulder bustiers, but with sturdy fabrics that suggest the city and not light beachy fare. Risso put a new twist on the Roman toga in sleek, form-fitting textiles. Bomber jackets had half belts sewn into the back. Full-skirted dresses had front panels, some left as a blank canvass, others with prints.

Risso included in his model casting average-size women, who made clear the collections can have a broad audience.

Colors ranged from soft creams and yellows to louder reds and blues. Eye wear were dramatic pointy sunglasses.

MISSION CELEBRATES HERITAGE LOOKING TO FUTURE

Missoni treated the fashion crowd to a sweeping view of the new Milan skyline of skyscrapers by architects Zaha Hadid, Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind to celebrate its 65th year.

Creative director Angela Missoni said she chose the terrace overlooking the City Life quarter and beneath Mario Bellini's silvery sculpture "Comet," because the view represented "the most futuristic place in Milan."

"This place is a dream. This place summarizes the future," she said.

The looks for men and women were delicate in tone, weight and structure.

For women, Angela Missoni constructed layered works, incorporating fresh detailing like tiered ruffles and braided overlays of yarn, for a playful touch. The men's looks were relaxed and functional, including kimono tops, long T-shirts and cardigans.

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