Female empowerment, controversies about race, and designs that plunged to the depths of the seas then climbed Mount Olympus were among themes to grace Paris Couture Week on its drama-filled first day.
Here are some highlights of Monday's spring-summer 2020 couture shows.
DIOR: WOMEN RULE (AND GLIMMER)
Dior's first ever female designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri, is onto something.
Her feminist logo-emblazoned T-shirts have famously been among the house's biggest sellers — and so she went back on the girl power charge to capitalize on this popular unique selling point in the Rodin Museum collection.
The starting idea was a question posed by the artist and set-designer Judy Chicago, blown up as text at the show: "What if Women Ruled the World?"
Chiuri answered it herself by basing the shimmering Greco-Roman designs around the theme of "The Female Divine."
Though at several points Chiuri strayed into heavy-handedness, the overall result was an archetypally couture collection that harked back to the couture origins of draping and strapping.
Athena, the ancient warrior-goddess, was evoked in a tightly-strapped gold bodice and sections of gold fringing.
And the Hellenistic sculpture "The Winged Victory of Samothrace," that stands in the Louvre, provided inspiration for long billowing silk skirts and rope-like straps that pulled tightly around the busts and waists of several looks.
But ensembles sometimes fell victim to their own divine ambition — such as an iron-colored goddess-version of the house's signature bar jacket. Though it captured a feeling of chain mail, accordingly, it proved ungraciously clunky at the hips.
DIOR FRONT ROW
Alongside Uma Thurman, "Alien" star Sigourney Weaver, who's rarely spotted on the fashion scene, led the celebrity pack.
Weaver, who's known for her feisty and feminist roles, had something to say about couture — and Dior — empowering women.
"It is always an ideal," she said, before entering the show.
"Haute couture is very strong, and assured, which I think women sometimes need help being as assured as we should be. And we need to have a little Christian Dior inside us to sort of step out, you know?"
SCHIAPARELLI'S PERFECT BALANCE
Daniel Roseberry seems to have the winning formula at Schiaparelli: Less is more.
The Texas-born designer managed on Monday to include all the Surrealist references of the late, great couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, without them straying into the kitsch or the overpowering — as has been the case in the past. He used them sparingly, carefully giving each bold object the necessary space to breathe.
A large gold earring resembling a human ear, for instance, was placed above a bare chest and dark tuxedo. Not only did that allow the statement earring to be the sole dominant feature, Roseberry very cleverly re-enforced the idea of the human body being — literally — on display. The same idea was repeated on a statement sheeny royal blue leopard-skin print tuxedo twinned with the model's bare human-skin.
The couture itself was simple, but deceptively so. A raisin-black tuxedo with four gold buttons had a monochromatic giant ruffled fabric hood that enveloped the model's face. The design was visually arresting yet handled subtly as it was in a monochromatic dark hue.
In the final flourish, Roseberry tackled shocking pink — the color-name Schiaparelli was said to have coined. What was shocking about it was its tastefulness, for instance on a giant dropped-waist full skirt that contrasted stylishly with a bodice in ultramarine, royal blue and flash of orange.
Adding to reasons to love this show: 23 of the 36 looks were modeled by non-Caucasian models and women of color, in a rare moment on the Paris catwalk.
COMME DES GARCONS' RACE CONTROVERSY
Brand Comme des Garçons ended men's fashion week trying to defend itself against accusations of racism after last week's show featured white models wearing braided wigs.
Critics of the show, which AP didn't attend and only saw photos of, said it smacked of racial appropriation as the wigs resembled hairstyles of the black community, and some black models in the same show walked with just their natural hair.
The hair stylist Julien d'Ys said on social media he was influenced by Tutankhamun and Ancient Egypt.
In a statement sent to AP, the house said "it was never, ever our intention to disrespect or hurt anyone – we deeply and sincerely apologize for any offense it has caused."
Race is a hot topic at fashion weeks all over the world, after a host of recent controversies, including an ad campaign by Dolce and Gabbana that was deemed racist against China.
In 2018, Comme des Garçons was criticized for lacking diversity over models on its runway.
IRIS VAN HERPEN EXCELS
Another season of Dutch wunderkind Iris Van Herpen, another moment to delve into her unique world of visual poetry.
Floating jelly fish and skeletal underwater crustaceans are often evoked visually in the designer's award-winning couture, but rarely referenced by the house as inspiration.
This season, it acknowledged that spring-summer's designs channeled "the sensory processes that occur between the intricate composition of the human body, mirrored with the fibrous marine ecology of our oceans."
It made for one of the designer's most beautiful collections ever.
Twisted silk strands on a gown descended down a model's body in pastel blues, grays and coconut white, like the tentacles of a deep-sea creature, with the floating feeling of suspended gravity.
A black floor-length gown with undulating straps could have been a poisonous medusa, with coral-red dye bleeding down its multi-layered skirt.
Toward the end, one of the most beautiful pieces of couture in memory appeared — a brilliant white structured three-dimensional gown made of thousands of interlocking petals of white fabric that evoked a swan, or perhaps a section of human bone under the microscope.
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI'S EXHIBIT
The fashion seasons run at a relenting pace. And France's longest transport strike in decades complicated an already frenetic calendar last week.
This was perhaps in the mind of Giambattista Valli, who this season decided to take his foot off the pedal and put on an exhibit, instead of a high-octane — blink and you miss it — runway show.
The — mostly — fun designs proved it to be a good decision.
On mannequins inside Paris' Jeu de Paume, the Italian-born designer showed off his couture skills of abstraction with pieces that possessed flourishes at the shoulder or skirt.
Crimson tulle ruffles appeared like vertical columns on both sides of a sleeveless silk gown. A voluminous white feather headpiece looked like a wild, windswept shrub. While a bitter lemon-colored dress with huge gathered full skirt was lit up on a yellow mannequin — to make the whole world seem yellow.
Off-camera and during commercials, the stars at the Screen Actors Guild Awards got to rub shoulders, give congratulatory kisses, and meet for the first or the 50th time. Here are some of the more memorable moments from inside Sunday night's ceremony at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
PARTY TIME FOR 'PARASITE'
The "Parasite" table was one of the happier places in the Shrine ballroom — and that was before its cast won the night's biggest award. Song Kang Ho and the film's other stars got whoops, whistles and a standing ovation from much of the room of mostly American actors early in the show, when they took the stage to present their nominated film. That was followed by a full-blown ovation at the end, when theirs became the first foreign-language film to win the best ensemble SAG Award. In the two hours between, the gleeful cast and director Bong Joon Ho, savored their moment in the Hollywood spotlight, taking group selfies during every commercial break. They greeted a steady stream of fellow-actor fans, including Steve Buscemi. "I'm a little embarrassed," cast member Lee Sun Kyun said after the show through a translator. "We're feeling a little like the parasites of Hollywood now."
SOME SAG STARS LOOM LARGER THAN OTHERS
TV and movie screens tend to obscure actors' heights, but when they're all in a room together it's very clear who looms over whom. The winners of the show's first two awards for actresses, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Laura Dern, both reportedly 5-foot-10, made it seem like the night was going to be dominated by the tallest nominees, but the trend ended there. The win of a much shorter Joaquin Phoenix — for "Joker" — over a reportedly 6-foot-3 Adam Driver for best actor in a film was more typical of the night. And the tallest actor and actress in the crowd, Stephen Merchant of "Jojo Rabbit," who stands about 6-foot-7, and Gwendoline Christie of "Game of Thrones," who stands about 6-foot-3, never got to take the stage with their casts, over whom they towered when they stood up during commercial breaks.
LITHGOW VISITS DRIVER'S SEAT
John Lithgow is even taller than Driver, and is nearly 40 years older, but it was Lithgow doing the looking up when the two met for the first time during a commercial break. Lithgow, nominated along with the rest of the cast of "Bombshell," smiled and gushed to Driver, nominated for best actor for "Marriage Story," expressing his admiration for Driver's run of recent performances. "Great to meet you Adam," Lithgow said with enthusiasm as the SAG Awards telecast returned from commercial and Lithgow rejoined Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and his other cast mates at the neighboring table.
SMALL STARS SCRAMBLE FOR SAG SELFIES
You could be excused for thinking it was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work day for the professional actors of the SAG Awards. Actually, the wee ones running around the ballroom were acting pros, too, on a night where children abounded among the nominees. The kid actors from "Big Little Lies," including brothers Cameron and Nicholas Crovetti, were all over the ballroom during commercial breaks, taking photos with stars including their cast mates Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. Twelve-year-old Roman Griffin Davis sat proudly at his table like he utterly belonged alongside his fellow "Jojo Rabbit" cast members, who include Scarlett Johansson. Leonardo DiCaprio politely spoke to a steady stream of people excited to meet him during commercial breaks, but he positively beamed when his 10-year-old "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" co-star Julia Butters, in a shiny silver suit, brought three young friends to meet him. He greeted each of them with a huge grin just moments before he lost out on best actor to Phoenix.
DE NIRO AND STREEP MAKE SAG CROWD SWOON
If anyone inspired more awe in the ballroom than DiCaprio it was Robert De Niro, to whom DiCaprio presented the SAG Life Achievement Award during the ceremony. Many major stars came to pay tribute to De Niro as he sat at a table that included his "The Irishman" co-stars Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel. But when Meryl Streep — his co-star in "The Deer Hunter" more than 40 years ago — stopped by to exchange kisses and kudos, photographers descended in droves and phone cameras came out on all sides to capture the meetup of the pair that many regard as the greatest actor and actress of their generation.
Virtually the entire ballroom can see the SAG Awards telecast's teleprompters if they look over their shoulder, and can see who's going off-script. When Ray Romano said while introducing the best ensemble nomination for "The Irishman" that he still couldn't believe he played a mob lawyer opposite De Niro and Keitel, Keitel roasted him by responding "I can't believe it either." Romano replied, "Hey, that's not up there," pointing at the teleprompter. Romano was right. It wasn't.
MR. ROGERS, JUDY GARLAND ARE NEIGHBORS
Actors usually sit with their cast mates at SAG Awards tables, but sometimes the seating chart yields more novel pairings, like the adjacent placement of Tom Hanks, nominated for "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood," and Renée Zellweger, nominated for "Judy." The pairing made theirs a popular table for fans and cameras, and it proved prescient. They met up again onstage late in the show, when Hanks handed Zellweger the trophy for best actress in a film.
Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston both took home awards at the 26th Screen Actors Guild on Sunday.
Pitt is headed toward his first acting Academy Award for his supporting performance in "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood," and he added to his front-runner status with a win from the actors' guild. Along the way, his speeches have been full of one-liners, and he didn't disappoint Sunday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
Pitt, who said he was nursing a flu, looked down at his award and said, "I've got to add this to my Tinder profile."
"Let's be honest, it was a difficult part. A guy who gets high, takes his shirt off and doesn't get on with his wife," joked Pitt. "It was a big stretch." The audience laughed and clapped, including — as the cameras captured — Aniston, his ex-wife.
Aniston later won an award of her own for best female actor in a drama series for the Apple TV Plus show "The Morning Show." "What!" she said upon reaching the stage. Aniston finished her speech with a shout-out to her "Murder Mystery" co-star Adam Sandler, whose performance in "Uncut Gems" has gone mostly unrewarded this season despite considerable acclaim.
"Your performance is extraordinary and your magic is real. I love you, buddy," said Aniston.
Laura Dern also further established herself as the best supporting actress favorite for her performance in "Marriage Story" with a win from the Screen Actors Guild. On her way to the stage, she hugged her father, Bruce Dern.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge continued her awards sweep for "Fleabag," a winner at the Emmys and the Golden Globes. Waller-Bridge added a SAG win for best female actor in a comedy series and took a moment to reflect on the show's parade of accolades.
"This whole thing really has been a dream, and if I wake up tomorrow and discover it was just that, then thank you," said Waller-Bridge. "It's been the most beautiful dream."
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" also continued its streak, winning best comedy series ensemble for the second straight year, along with Tony Shalhoub taking home the statue for best male actor in a comedy series. But accepting the ensemble award, the show's shocked Alex Borstein said she had voted for "Fleabag."
"Honestly this makes no sense,' said Borstein. "'Fleabag' is brilliant.'"
Among the films vying for the screen actors' top honor, best ensemble, are Oscar heavyweights "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" and "The Irishman." They are competing with "Parasite" (only the second foreign language nominee after "Life Is Beautiful," which received a nod in 1999), "Jojo Rabbit" and "Bombshell."
Because actors make up the largest percentage of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, their picks are closely watched. But the last two years, the SAG ensemble winner has not gone on to win best picture: "Black Panther" last year and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" in 2018.
Two of this year's top best-picture contenders at the Oscars — "Joker," more of a one-man show; and "1917," more acclaimed for its technical acumen — weren't nominated for best ensemble. On Saturday, "1917" won top honors at the highly predictive Producers Guild Awards, solidifying its front-runner status. In 21 of the last 30 years, the PGA winner has lined up with the eventual best picture winner.
Robert De Niro was given the guild's lifetime achievement award, an honor presented by Leonardo DiCaprio who, like De Niro, is a frequent leading man for Martin Scorsese. (The two co-star in Scorsese's upcoming "Killers of the Flower Moon.") A raucous standing ovation greeted the 76-year-old actor.
De Niro, a fiery critic of Donald Trump, referenced the president in his remarks.
"There's right and there's wrong. And there's common sense and there's abuse of power. As a citizen, I have as much right as anybody — an actor, an athlete, anybody else — to voice my opinion," said De Niro. "And if I have a bigger voice because of my situation, I'm going to use it whenever I see a blatant abuse of power."
Awards for stunt ensemble were announced ahead of the ceremony, with prizes going to Marvel's "Avengers: Endgame" and HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Having thrown her life open for years, it's hard to believe there isn't much the public doesn't know about Paris Hilton.
But wait, there is.
The 38-year-old socialite often described as famous for being famous reveals a private side of herself in "This is Paris," a YouTube Originals documentary premiering in May.
"It's very emotional this movie, it's very raw, it's very authentic," an unusually somber and admittedly nervous Hilton told a TV critics meeting on Saturday. "It's basically my entire life."
In the documentary, she speaks publicly for the first time about incidents from her past and pivotal moments in her life.
Emmy-winning director Alexandra Dean ("Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story") initially turned down the project, having gotten her fill of seeing Hilton on countless magazine covers while living in Europe. Dean changed her mind after hearing a particular story described as "heartbreaking trauma" involving Hilton that is revealed in the film.
Hilton herself was reluctant to take a meeting about the project "because I wasn't ready to show myself."
Eventually, she agreed and the film crew followed her around the world for a year.
"I talk about things that are very hard to talk about," Hilton said. "It was an amazing experience, but also very scary. Watching the film for the first time, I was like, 'Can we cut that out?' I was freaking out but they have total control over the whole film."
The documentary addresses the time a teen-aged Hilton spent at a residential treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally troubled youth in Utah.
Hilton's only sister, Nicky Rothschild, rarely gives interviews but agreed to participate. Their mother, Kathy Hilton, also appears.
"There's so many `yes' people around and Nicky always tells me the truth," Hilton said. "She's my best friend and my other half."
At times, Hilton comes off as lonely in private even as her public image portrays her as the life of every party and club she works as a DJ. She also describes herself as shy "which most people won't believe either," she said.
"Growing up in Hollywood, it's very hard to trust people because you don't know what their intentions are," she said. "I've definitely been betrayed many times in my life. Going through so much, it's made me the strong person I am today. I don't know that I'll fully trust, but I'm really lucky in my life that I now have people in my circle that I really do."
Hilton still feels the effects of the dumb blonde persona she employed in "The Simple Life," the reality show that shot her and Nicole Richie to fame starting in 2003.
"I was in on the joke. People thought that's who I really was," Hilton said. "I've been judged on a character that I created at the beginning of my career and now I feel like it's really time that people see who the real Paris is."
Disney is dropping the word "Fox" from the movie studios it acquired as part of last year's $71 billion purchase of Fox's entertainment business, according to published reports.
Disney will still run them as separate studios within the company. But trade publication Variety reported that 20th Century Fox will become 20th Century Studios, while Fox Searchlight Pictures will be Searchlight Pictures. Variety said the studios' logos are largely unchanged except for the removal of the Fox name.
Variety said the Fox name created brand confusion with Disney because Fox News and the Fox broadcast network are owned by Rupert Murdoch's Fox Corp., while the movie studios now belong to Disney.
The news outlet said a decision has yet to be made on Disney's Fox television production businesses, 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studio.
Disney representatives did not return messages requesting comment.