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Paris Fashion Week. Are You Invited?

STERN (Germany), LE TELEGRAMME, LE PARISIEN, NOUVEL OBSERVATEUR, CLOSER (France)

Worldcrunch

Paris Fashion Week, a twice-a-year ode to luxury consumption, has been going on for several days. It is the best time of year for celebrity-watchers to catch a glimpse of Kate Moss, Kristen Stewart, Salma Hayek, Princess Charlene of Monaco or Valerie Trierweiler, “first girlfriend” of France.

Fashion journalists, department store buyers, bloggers and some of the world’s wealthiest and most beautiful women are jostling each other at the entrances to the famously exclusive showings and parties.

The most talked-about show took place Tuesday for Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld’s 13 white windmills, set up for his runway under the glass roof of the Grand Palais. His theme, complete with silver-and-blue floor coverings simulating solar cells, was renewable energy. But he does not claim to be “écolo,” according to the French newspaper Le Télégramme. “It’s a question of volume and lightness.”

Jean-Paul Gaultier presented a “joyful collection” inspired by the Eighties, according to Le Parisien. “Just because there is a crisis doesn’t mean you have to be gloomy and show sinister fashions,” Gaultier told a reporter. “In the 1980s, there were a lot of wild and crazy looks, while nowadays we seem to be moving towards clones, looking like everyone else, conformist.”

According to German magazine Stern, the most coveted invitation this week has been to the party for Hedi Slimane’s first collection for Yves Saint-Laurent, where he is now head designer. Slimane, one of the stars of Fashion Week, did not invite the New York Times fashion reporter to the showing… a slight attributed to a grudge Slimane holds against the reporter for something written in 2004.

It was not all up about one-upmanship. The 90-year-old founder of the Chloé brand, known for its “casual elegance,” received a long round of applause on Wednesday, reported Le Nouvel Observateur. But she whispered to a reporter that she thought the newest designer’s creations looked like “baby dolls.”

Curious about the music carefully chosen to accompany the models as they stalk down the runways? Here are 15 of the songs spun by various designers this year.

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Indigenous Women Of Ecuador Set Example For Sustainable Agriculture

In southern Ecuador, a women-led agricultural program offers valuable lessons on sustainable farming methods, but also how to end violence.

Photo of women walking in Ecuador

Women walking in Guangaje Ecuador

Camila Albuja

SARAGURO — Here in this corner of southern Ecuador, life seems to be like a mandala — everything is cleverly used in this ancestral system of circular production. But the women of Saraguro had to fight and resist to make their way of life, protecting the local water and the seeds. When weaving, the women share and take care of each other, also weaving a sense of community.

With the wrinkled tips of her fingers, Mercedes Quizhpe, an indigenous woman from the Kichwa Saraguro people, washes one by one the freshly harvested vegetables from her garden. Standing on a small bench, with her hands plunged into the strong torrent of icy water and the bone-chilling early morning breeze, she checks that each one of her vegetables is ready for fair day. Her actions hold a life of historical resistance, one that prioritizes the care of life through the defense of territory and food sovereignty.

Mercedes' way of life is also one that holds many potential lessons for how to do agriculture and tourism better.

In the province of Loja, work begins before sunrise. At 5:00 a.m., the barking of dogs, the guardians of each house, starts. There is that characteristic smell of damp earth from the morning dew. Sheep bah uninterruptedly through the day. With all this life around, the crowing of early-rising roosters doesn't sound so lonely.

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