Couture Fashion Week 2012: Eye-catching Ascot-style millinery floods Paris catwalk

Mad hatters: Eye-catching millinery reminiscent of designs worn at Ascot make an entrance at Couture Fashion Week

Enormous flower headpieces, reminiscent of the wacky designs worn by race-goers at Royal Ascot, are flooding the Paris catwalk this haute couture week.

But with a stricter dress code announced for Ascot this year, it will be interesting to see if the millinery present at the Queen’s favourite annual meeting, set to take place this June, will be as fanciful as previous years.

However these bold designs in red, pink, gold, rose, orange, lime, yellow and violet will certainly inspire those on the lookout for some eye-catching headgear – and they will certainly meet the 4in diameter requirements.

They were spotted at the Alexis Mabille presentation held at the Shangri-La hotel as part of Couture Fashion Week.

The French designer – often referred to as the Christmas Bauble of Paris – is known for his theatrical taste and since venturing into haute couture he has dressed the likes of Keira Knightley, Sophia Coppola and Dita von Teese for red carpet events.

Making an entrance: Alixis Mabille's smart, colourful gowns were presented with huge matching floral fascinators - and the models' faces were painted the same shade

Making an entrance: Alixis Mabille's smart, colourful gowns were presented with huge matching floral fascinators - and the models' faces were painted the same shade

Making an entrance: Alixis Mabille's smart, colourful gowns were presented with huge matching floral fascinators - and the models' faces were painted the same shade

Making an entrance: Alixis Mabille's smart, colourful gowns were presented with huge matching floral fascinators - and the models' faces were painted the same shade

Making
an entrance: Alixis Mabille's smart, colourful gowns were presented
with huge matching floral fascinators – and the models' faces were
painted the same shade

Statement pieces: While the huge hats were the centre of attention, Alexis Mabille's sophisticated clothes also put a smile on the faces of those sitting in the front row

Statement pieces: While the huge hats were the centre of attention, Alexis Mabille's sophisticated clothes also put a smile on the faces of those sitting in the front row

Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille

Alexis Mabille

Spring colours: The beautifully cut gowns and matching oversized hats also came in metallic and pastel shades

You could be mistaken for thinking that Ascot had come early with the wacky creations that graced the catwalk.

But Mabille wasn't the only designer to cause a stir. Maurizio Galante also showcased some exotic headgear, inspired by spring foliage.

Models paraded down the runway wearing wreaths adorned with flowers, stems and leaves.

The Italian designer adopted various shades of leafy green, earthy browns and poppy pinks for his his spring / summer range.

He used a combination of organza, metallic layers, wool, and silk to create the dramatic accessories.

Maurizio Galante

Maurizio Galante

Maurizio Galante

Floral tributes: At Maurizio Galante's show the model's faces were hidden behind curtains of colourful spring flowers

Maurizio Galante

Maurizio Galante

Maurizio Galante

Maurizio Galante

Dramatic
from head-to-toe: Elaborately woven and draped fabric made almost as
much of a statement as the floral headpieces at the Paris Fashion Week
show