YSL ad triggers sexism outcry as Chanel rockets to space

PARIS — Chanel rocketed into space Tuesday at Paris Fashion Week in an interstellar-themed show spectacular that saw designer Karl Lagerfeld reach for the stars — and a star-filled front row.

Singer-turned-fashion designer Rihanna stunned crowds in a standout citrus lime coat at her Fenty X Puma collection that channeled school-girl-gone-bad.

And Paris saw protest against a controversial new "Saint Laurent" ad campaign that rights groups say is sexist.

Here are the highlights:

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CHANEL'S APOLLO NO. 5

It was a return to form for Lagerfeld Tuesday, who explored space-infused styles in a fresh-feeling collection that was the 83-year-old's best in seasons.

Pharrell Williams, Cara Delevingne and Lily-Rose Depp delighted as Lagerfeld pressed the "ignition" button that saw a gargantuan Chanel "Space Agency" rocket take off inside the Grand Palais.

A round, raised-collar defined the chic aesthetic on skirt-suit styles — evoking a space-helmet neckline. While, sparkling silver and white boots merged the utilitarian astronaut-look with a chic Chanel signature — the square black toe.

Minimalist pure-white mini dresses also cleverly captured the futuristic feeling — with cosmic-embroidered clusters sparkling against black fabric — the vast fabric of space.

But beyond the smart fashion details, Lagerfeld really had some fun.

Guests starting snapping with their cameras as models wrapped in huge reflective, heat-resistant shawl-blankets strutted around the giant, ceiling-high space shuttle installation that at one point pumped out smoke, grumbling noisily.

It was Paris fashion's Apollo No. 5.

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RIHANNA GOES BACK TO SCHOOL

Moving on from her more saccharine, historic Marie Antoinette looks last season, the nascent 29-year-old designer developed a little — going back to college in the scholastic Monday night show.

It was called Fenty University.

On-trend oversize nerdy glasses, long flappy scarves, huge preppy sweaters, pleated skirts, lycra shorts and sports team uniforms were imagined in orange maroon, apple green, bright yellow and dark blue.

Caps were emblazoned with an "F," denoting the Barbadian star's middle name of Fenty.

As is the now the Rihanna signature, many of the looks were given a sexual, edgy twist — here seen in exposed midriffs, flesh-baring shorts and one knit sports crop top with breasts exposed at the bottom.

Thigh-high laced-up baseball boots, in blue, yellow and white added a dose of fetishistic, school-girl provocation.

Rihanna has shown critics that she's growing as a designer with this, more thoughtful collection.

But it hasn't convinced everyone.

One Twitter observer suggested the star not quit her day job, acerbically commenting: "Please Don't Stop The Music."

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PROTEST AGAINST NEW SAINT LAURENT AD

Campaigners are accusing Saint Laurent of sexism after an ad campaign was released that they say features women in degrading poses. They are demanding its withdrawal.

A French women's rights group held a protest Tuesday in front of Saint Laurent's Left Bank Paris boutique against the publicity campaign that shows a model in fur and fishnets opening her thighs, and another model in a leotard bending over a stool.

Advertising campaigns in France are frequently criticized for objectifying women to sell products, but this season's Saint Laurent campaign was singled out notably because of the suggestion of violence.

French advertising authority ARPP told The Associated Press that they wrote to Saint Laurent Monday regarding the complaints they have received about the imagery.

The Associated Press reached out to the house Tuesday, but they had no immediate comment.

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PHARRELL'S TWO ROCKETS

Williams told the AP of his amusement over the Chanel show space-shuttle decor.

"It's funny, you know. I have a son named Rocket and there's a rocket in front of me," said the singer, who's also a Chanel brand ambassador.

Speaking of the house, the 43-year-old said: "I think it's amazing, I mean as always, you know they color outside the lines."

Williams joined singer Lily Allen on the front row inside the Grand Palais venue, who said she was currently recording her fourth album.

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MONCLER GAMME ROUGE

Scandinavia was in the air at Moncler.

An autumnal Nordic forest decor with golden green fallen leaves met guests at lauded designer Giambattista Valli's illustrious Tuesday show.

And references to the styles of the northern-most reaches of Europe were ubiquitous in the wintery 48-look display.

Thick Scandinavian knits with the signature zigzags and motifs that circled the neck appeared on layered top-heavy silhouettes with short minis and wooly tights.

Knitted gloves and the famed, knitted boot-sock that helps those in the colder climates stay warm in the winter months added a fun touch to imaginative and well-executed collection. Straps on the torso evoked the braces of skiing salopettes.

And flower motifs, a Valli signature, came in purple, green and maroon.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP

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