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'Shape of Water,' 'Three Billboards' lead Oscar nominations

Guillermo del Toro's lavish monster romance "The Shape of Water" fished out a leading 13 nominations, Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman nominated for best director and "Mudbound" director of photography Rachel Morrison made history as the first woman nominated for best cinematography in nominations announced Tuesday for the 90th annual Academy Awards.

Oscar voters put forward nine best-picture nominees: "The Shape of Water ," Martin McDonaugh's rage-fueled comic drama "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ," Gerwig's nuanced coming-of-age tale "Lady Bird ," Jordan Peele's horror sensation "Get Out ," Joe Wright's Winston Churchill drama "Darkest Hour ," Steven Spielberg's timely newspaper drama "The Post ," Christopher Nolan's World War II epic "Dunkirk ," Luca Guadagnino's tender love story "Call Me By Your Name " and Paul Thomas Anderson's twisted romance "Phantom Thread ."

"The Shape of Water" landed just shy of tying the record of 14 nominations by "All About Eve," ''Titanic" and "La La Land." Del Toro's dark fantasy — a Cold War era ode to outsiders about a mute cleaning lady and an amphibious creature — scored a wide array for nominations for its cast (Sally Hawkins, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer), del Toro's directing, its sumptuous score (by Alexandre Desplat) and its technical craft.

Reached by phone Tuesday in Los Angeles, del Toro said he would celebrate by working and eating an extra chicken sausage for breakfast. "That will be my indulgence for the day."

The Mexican filmmaker said "The Shape of Water" has resonated because it explodes "the myth of 'us and them.'"

"You realize that we are all, in some way or another, a bit of an outsider in different ways," said del Toro. "Not fearing the other but embracing the other is the only way to go as a race. The urgency of that message of hope and emotion is what sustained the faith for roughly half a decade that the movie needed to be made."

The cascading fallout of sexual harassment scandals throughout Hollywood put particular focus on the best director category, which for many is a symbol of gender inequality in the film industry. Gerwig follows only Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow, the sole woman to win (for "The Hurt Locker").

Also nominated for best director was Peele. He becomes the fifth black filmmaker nominated for best director, and the third to helm a best-picture nominee, following Barry Jenkins last year for "Moonlight." He's also the third person to receive best picture, director and writing nods for his first feature film after Warren Beatty ("Heaven Can Wait") and James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment").

"What's the opposite of the Sunken Place?" said Peele on Twitter.

Though all of the acting front-runners — Frances McDormand ("Three Billboards"), Gary Oldman ("Darkest Hour"), Allison Janney ("I, Tonya"), Sam Rockwell ("Three Billboards") — landed their expected nominations, there were surprises.

Denzel Washington ("Roman J. Israel, Esq.") was nominated for best actor, likely eclipsing James Franco ("Disaster Artist"). Franco was accused of sexual misconduct, which he denied, just days before Oscar voting closed. The category's other nominees were a retiring veteran — Daniel Day-Lewis for what he's said is his final performance ("Phantom Thread") — and a pair of breakouts: Timothee Chalamet ("Call Me By Your Name") and "Daniel Kaluuya ("Get Out").

Christopher Plummer, who replaced Kevin Spacey in Ridley Scott's "All the Money in the World," also sneaked into the best supporting actor category. Added to the film in reshoots little more than a month before the film's release, 88-year-old Plummer is the oldest acting nominee ever.

Perhaps most unexpected was the broad success of Paul Thomas Anderson's "Phantom Thread," which scored not only nods for Day-Lewis and Lesley Manville, for best supporting actress, but also nominations for best picture, Anderson's direction, costume design and Johnny Greenwood's score.

Anderson likely displaced not only Steven Spielberg ("The Post") but Martin McDonagh, the director of the film many have tapped to win best picture, "Three Billboards." His absence is a major knock for a film that has endured the harshest backlash of the contenders, with many claiming it's out of touch in matters of race.

Still, "Three Billboards" scored seven nominations Tuesday, behind only "The Shape of Water" and Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk." The World War II epic, thus far little-honored in Hollywood's awards season, emerged especially strong with Oscar voters, taking eight nominations, many of them in technical categories. It's Nolan's first nomination for best director.

Though the favorites are largely independent films, a number of blockbusters fared well, including five nods for "Blade Runner 2049," four for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," three for "Baby Driver," two for "Beauty and the Beast" and two for Pixar's "Coco," which is up for best animated feature.

Still, Patty Jenkins' "Wonder Woman," which became the highest grossing movie ever directed by a woman, failed to receive any Oscar nods despite an awards campaign. (Sean Baker's far lower budgeted "The Florida Project" also managed only a supporting actor nomination for Willem Dafoe despite hopes for a best picture nod.)

But the box-office hit that carved the most unlikely path to the Oscars was "Get Out." It opened back in February on Oscar weekend, and went on to pocket $254.7 million worldwide. It scored four nominations.

Though many minorities were still absent from the acting categories, the film academy, which has worked to diversify its membership, put forward a field of nominees almost as diverse as last year when "Moonlight," ''Fences" and "Hidden Figures" powered a rebuttal to the "OscarsSoWhite" backlash of the two years prior. Four black actors — Washington, Kaluuya, Spencer and Mary J. Blige ("Mudbound") — are among the 20 acting nominees.

Meryl Streep, who stars as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in "The Post," notched her 21st Oscar nomination. She was joined for best actress by McDormand, Hawkins, Saoirse Ronan ("Lady Bird") and Margot Robbie ("I, Tonya").

"I am honored beyond measure by this nomination for a film I love, a film that stands in defense of press freedom, and inclusion of women's voices in the movement of history," Streep said in a statement. "Proud of the film, and all her filmmakers. Thank you from a full heart."

The 89-year-old French filmmaking legend Agnes Varda, an honorary Oscar winner this season, is also up for best documentary for her co-directed "Faces Places." The other nominees are: "Abacus: Small Enough to Jail," ''Last Men in Aleppo" and two Netflix entries: "Icarus" and "Strong Island." Yance Ford, the director of "Strong Island," about Ford's investigation into his brother's 1992 murder, becomes the first transgender filmmaker nominated for an Oscar.

Some had lobbied for "A Fantastic Woman" star Daniela Vega to become the first transgender actor nominated. While Vega didn't garner a nomination, her film, from Chile, landed in the best foreign language category. The other nominees are: "The Insult," from Lebanon; "Loveless," from Russia; "On Body and Soul," from Hungary; and the Palme d'Or winner "The Square," from Sweden.

Last year's Oscars broadcast, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, drew 32.9 million viewers for ABC, a four percent drop from the prior year. More worrisome, however, was a steeper slide in the key demographic of adults aged 18-49, whose viewership was down 14 percent from 2016.

Though the show ran especially long, at three hours and 49 minutes, it finished with a bang: the infamous envelope mix-up that led to "La La Land" being incorrectly announced as the best picture before "Moonlight" was crowned.

This year, the academy has prohibited the PwC accountants who handle the envelopes from using cellphones or social media during the show. The accounting firm on Monday also unveiled several reforms including the addition of a third balloting partner in the show's control room. But the movie business has larger accounting problems. Movie attendance hit a 24-year low in 2017 despite the firepower of "The Last Jedi," ''Beauty and the Beast" and "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2."

It was a dominant if bittersweet day for 20th Century Fox. Its specialty label, Fox Searchlight, is behind both "Three Billboards" and "The Shape of Water," and Fox released "The Post." Yet Fox's leading 27 nominations may soon count for the Walt Disney Co., which last month reached a deal to purchase Fox for $52.4 billion.

Both Amazon and Netflix failed to crack the best picture category but earned nominations elsewhere. Netflix's "Mudbound" scored four nods and Amazon's "The Big Sick" grabbed a nomination for Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon's original screenplay about their real-life romance.

"At times we worried it would be insurmountable, or would rip us apart, or even worse — that no one would like it," Nanjiani and Gordon said in a joint statement. "The fact that it connected with audiences is exhilarating, and this nomination proves that our love is real. We have decided to stay married."

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Associated Press writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report from Los Angeles.

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For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason

Neil Diamond diagnosed with Parkinson’s, retiring from touring

Neil Diamond will retire from touring due to a recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.

>> Read more trending news 

The renowned singer-songwriter announced the news in a statement Monday that said his doctors advised that he cancel the upcoming leg of his 50th anniversary tour set for Australia and New Zealand.

“It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring,” Diamond said. “I have been so honored to bring my shows to the public for the past 50 years. My sincerest apologies to everyone who purchased tickets and were planning to come to the upcoming shows. I plan to remain active in writing, recording and other projects for a long time to come. My thanks go out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’ thanks to you.”

Diamond turns 77 on Wednesday and, in a bittersweet turn, this weekend will be honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

The storied songwriter behind such chestnuts as “Love on the Rocks,” “I Am, I Said,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Heartlight” and dozens more, launched his anniversary tour in April 2017.

>> Related: Grammy Awards 2018: What time, what channel, who is nominated, who will perform 

His most recent non-holiday album, “Melody Road,” was released in 2014.

Diamond says he has Parkinson's, retires from touring

Neil Diamond is retiring from touring after he says he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

Days shy of his 77th birthday, the rock legend is canceling his tour dates in Australia and New Zealand for March. He was on his 50th anniversary tour.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer offered his "sincerest apologies" to those who planned to go to his shows and says he plans to still write, record and work on other projects "for a long time to come."

Diamond's numerous hits include "Sweet Caroline," ''America," ''Love on the Rocks" and "Hello Again."

Diamond turns 77 on Wednesday and will get the lifetime achievement award at Sunday's Grammy awards.

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Online:

http://www.neildiamond.com

Connecticut theater director accused of sexual misconduct

A Connecticut theater's artistic director is on administrative leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Long Wharf Theatre board chair Laura Pappano says she placed Gordon Edelstein on leave Monday following a report by The New York Times.

The newspaper says it interviewed four women on the record who alleged unwanted sexual contact by Edelstein since his arrival in 2002, including one who complained to theater management in 2006. Other former employees alleged the prominent director made sexually explicit remarks at the New Haven theater.

Pappano says they knew of no instance in which a complaint was filed and not dealt with. She says many accusations detailed by the newspaper weren't previously reported.

Edelstein didn't immediately return messages seeking comment.

Wild ride: 'Jumanji' holds on to top spot at box office

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" notched its third straight weekend on top of the box office, besting a pair of new releases — "12 Strong" and "Den of Thieves" — both of which still managed to slightly outperform expectations.

Sony's "Jumanji" took in $19.5 million in ticket sales in its fifth weekend of releases, according to final box-office figures Monday. The reboot, starring Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart, has shown surprisingly strong legs after spending its first two weeks of release in second behind "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." Its cumulative total through Sunday is $316.5 million.

Warner Bros.' "12 Strong," about U.S. special forces sent to Afghanistan in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, followed with $15.8 million in its debut. STX Entertainment's crime thriller "Den of Thieves" debuted in third with $15.2 million.

The top 20 movies at U.S. and Canadian theaters Friday through Monday, followed by distribution studio, gross, number of theater locations, average receipts per location, total gross and number of weeks in release, as compiled Monday by comScore:

1. "Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle," Sony, $19,505,170, 3,704 locations, $5,266 average, $316,450,318, 5 weeks.

2. "12 Strong," Warner Bros., $15,815,025, 3,002 locations, $5,268 average, $15,815,025, 1 week.

3. "Den Of Thieves," STX Entertainment, $15,206,108, 2,432 locations, $6,253 average, $15,206,108, 1 week.

4. "The Post," 20th Century Fox, $11,716,960, 2,851 locations, $4,110 average, $44,758,362, 5 weeks.

5. "The Greatest Showman," 20th Century Fox, $10,644,824, 2,823 locations, $3,771 average, $113,125,431, 5 weeks.

6. "Paddington 2," Warner Bros., $8,009,129, 3,702 locations, $2,163 average, $24,810,362, 2 weeks.

7. "The Commuter," Lionsgate, $6,603,842, 2,892 locations, $2,283 average, $25,627,371, 2 weeks.

8. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," Disney, $6,555,435, 2,456 locations, $2,669 average, $604,273,911, 6 weeks.

9. "Insidious: The Last Key," Universal, $5,874,055, 2,546 locations, $2,307 average, $58,658,320, 3 weeks.

10. "Forever My Girl," Roadside Attractions, $4,245,490, 1,114 locations, $3,811 average, $4,245,490, 1 week.

11. "Proud Mary," Sony, $3,568,996, 2,125 locations, $1,680 average, $16,850,600, 2 weeks.

12. "Phantom Thread," Focus Features, $3,246,720, 896 locations, $3,624 average, $6,059,449, 4 weeks.

13. "Pitch Perfect 3," Universal, $3,022,185, 1,772 locations, $1,706 average, $100,535,230, 5 weeks.

14. "I, Tonya," Neon Rated, $2,859,938, 799 locations, $3,579 average, $14,508,658, 7 weeks.

15. "Darkest Hour," Focus Features, $2,729,810, 1,341 locations, $2,036 average, $40,792,987, 9 weeks.

16. "The Shape Of Water," Fox Searchlight, $2,186,311, 853 locations, $2,563 average, $30,195,358, 8 weeks.

17. "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri," Fox Searchlight, $1,917,162, 954 locations, $2,010 average, $31,994,519, 11 weeks.

18. "Coco," Disney, $1,910,672, 878 locations, $2,176 average, $200,726,972, 9 weeks.

19. "Ferdinand," 20th Century Fox, $1,686,160, 1,212 locations, $1,391 average, $79,172,376, 6 Weeks.

20. "Molly's Game," STX Entertainment, $1,622,177, 1,091 locations, $1,487 average, $24,280,686, 4 weeks.

Megyn Kelly still angry at Jane Fonda, calls her ‘Hanoi Jane’ months after plastic surgery tiff

It seems that neither Megyn Kelly or Jane Fonda has forgotten about that awkward September interview in which Fonda shut Kelly down after the latter asked about possible plastic surgery.

>> Read more trending news   

In the interview, Kelly asked Fonda about aging and plastic surgery when she and Robert Redford were on “Megyn Kelly Today” to promote their film “Our Souls at Night.” Fonda didn’t want to talk about the topic and snapped, “We really want to talk about that now?”

Things never really got back on track after that, and the incident came up again just last week, when Fonda appeared on “TODAY” with her “Grace & Frankie” co-star Lily Tomlin. When Hoda Kotb asked how long the veteran actresses have been friends, Tomlin replied, “Oh, my gosh … I think before your first facelift!”

While Kotb and Savannah Guthrie exploded in a fit of giggles, Fonda was clearly unamused. “Never mind! Never mind!” she said. “Who are you, Megyn Kelly?”

On Monday, Kelly took time out of her show to address the actress’s remarks.

“And, now, a word on Jane Fonda, who appears to be fixated on an exchange I had with her months ago on this show,” Kelly said introducing the clip from September on her show on Monday. “When she first complained, publicly after the program and repeatedly after the program, I chose to say nothing because my general philosophy is what other people think of me is none of my business.”

>> Related: After Matt Lauer’s firing, new NBC employee accuses ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ staff

“It’s time to address the ‘poor me’ routine,” Kelly said. She told the audience and TV viewers that Fonda appeared on her show last September to promote a film “about aging.”

“To her credit, she has discussed her cosmetic surgery pretty much everywhere before coming on our show,” Kelly said.

Kelly then played a clip of a previous Fonda “Today Show” appearance discussing her history with plastic surgery, then referenced Fonda’s other interviews on the topic.

“Apparently, when she came here, however, again, to promote her film about aging, I was supposed to discern that this subject was suddenly off limits,” Kelly said. “Look, I gave her the chance to empower other women, young and old, on a subject which she purports to know well, and she rejected it. That’s OK. But I have no regrets about that question, nor am I in the market for a lesson from Jane Fonda on what is or is not appropriate.”

The hits kept on coming when Kelly brought up the “outrage” Fonda has caused in the past.

“After all, this is a woman whose name is synonymous with outrage. Look at her treatment of our military during the Vietnam War,” Kelly said as the audience cheered. “Many of our veterans still call her ‘Hanoi Jane.'”

Kelly then listed Fonda’s multiple offenses and added, “By the way, she still says she is not proud of America.”

>> Related: Rocker John Mellencamp’s daughter joins cast of ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’

It’s unclear if Fonda plans on responding to Kelly’s insults, but Fonda fans responded on Twitter.

Kardashian-Jenner sisters pose for Calvin Klein photo shoot

The Kardashian-Jenner family stripped down for a photo shoot campaign promoting the Calvin Klein brand’s popular underwear line.

>> Read more trending news 

While Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian and Kendall Jenner bared their midriffs in the photoshoot, 20-year-old Kylie Jenner covered hers up with a red and white quilt. In other shots from the shoot, Kylie Jenner — well known for showing off her figure — kept her stomach hidden at all times.

Amid rampant speculation that she’s expecting a daughter with her 25-year-old boyfriend, rapper Travis Scott, the young makeup mogul has made few public appearances and stayed off social media almost entirely. Some fans of the reality stars claim that Kylie Jenner has actually been the surrogate for Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West, who welcomed daughter Chicago West last week.

Related: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West welcome third child via surrogate

Khloé Kardashian, 33, confirmed her pregnancy with Tristan Thompson in December before going on a media tour, where she was unsuccessfully pressured to spill news about her younger sister’s pregnancy. 

Considering there’s no hint of a bump for Khloé Kardashian or Kylie Jenner in the underwear shoot, it’s possible the shoot was completed long before Khloé Kardashian’s bump reveal and Kylie Jenner is likely much farther along than her big sister, who confirmed that she’s six months along in early January.

Related: Khloe Kardashian confirms pregnancy: ‘My greatest dream realized’

While the older Kardashians are willing to chat up a storm about their own babies, it looks like the youngest of the group is going to maintain her radio silence.

“Kylie wants to disappear and be out of the spotlight and focus on her health and happiness,” a source told People late last year. “Kylie isn’t going to publicly address her pregnancy until she gives birth. She’s not doing any public appearances and just wanted to take six months off.”

Dior gets surreal as stars talk Time's Up at Paris couture

Dior designer Maria Grazia Chiuri projected a ludic mood at the Rodin Museum as top actresses weighed in on the Time's Up movement against sexual harassment at the start of Paris couture week.

Here are highlights from Monday's spring-summer 2018 collections:

MAGIC AND ILLUSION AT DIOR

Chiuri channeled surrealism for her predominantly black-and-white Dior show that brimmed with optical illusion and surprise. Chess board squares led around a mirrored runway adorned with hanging plaster sculptures: an ear, a torso, a nose, a hand and a cage.

A series of A-line "domino" coats and gloves whimsically attached to an ankle set the tone for playful styles that were inspired by touchstones from the early 20th century artistic movement.

Gowns with visible caging — a surrealist leitmotif — played on transparencies. Eyes — a frequent reference for Salvador Dali — were emphasized by masks and exaggerated makeup. And the movement's frequent depiction of plumes was captured in the most beautiful gown in the collection: a bustier dress made of huge white feathers.

They billowed out dramatically in an hourglass silhouette from a cinched waist fastening.

A "hypnotic" striped bustier dress with a dropped waist called "Vertigo" was handled less subtly.

Alongside several of the gowns in dots and stripes, it suffered due to its black-and-white shapes that gave an unintended harsh edge to the otherwise feminine display.

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ACTRESSES SPEAK UP ON TIME'S UP, DENEUVE

The guests at Dior included actresses Emily Blunt and Gemma Arterton, who commented on the sex harassment and abuse scandal that has shaken up the entertainment industry.

"Clash of the Titans" actress Gemma Arterton, who sat front row at Dior, said a "generational thing" may explain why 74-year-old French actress Catherine Deneuve views the Hollywood anti-abuse campaign as having gone too far.

Deneuve set the feminist world ablaze this month by co-signing a letter accusing post-Weinstein groundswell of allegations of being puritanical.

"My general idea is there is in the younger generation in France a strong feminist movement. The older generation is a bit further behind. It's a generational thing," Arterton said.

Arterton said it was an "exciting time" to be in the film industry as real action is taken to provide equality for women — especially in her home country of Britain.

Emily Blunt called it "an extraordinary time" in history that will give women a voice and empower younger actresses.

"It feels now we're all engulfed in flames... and the weight of history is coming behind it," Blunt said.

The actress said she believed the animosity would in the long term "actually neutralize in the most positive way."

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EMILY BLUNT IS BUSY

Actress Emily Blunt, whose numerous film credits include "The Devil Wears Prada," attended the Dior couture show wearing a sophisticated red silk Dior gown with a playing card motif.

Blunt spoke to The Associated Press about her upcoming movies, including "Mary Poppins Returns," which picks up with the flying nanny 25 years after where the Julie Andrews original left off and is set during the Great Depression.

"It's more of a darker backdrop, more need for hope coming from the skies," she added.

Blunt said the film will feature all new music and continue the story that won Andrews the 1965 Oscar for best actress.

"No pressure, no pressure at all," she quipped.

Blunt also stars in "A Quiet Place," a horror movie about an isolated family co-written and directed by Blunts husband, actor John Krasinski of the American version of "The Office" fame.

Blunt said it was the first time she'd collaborated professionally with Krasinski and was pleased to discover it strengthened their relationship.

"I was thrilled to find out that we work well together and didn't kill each other. It was a very new experience for both of us, and I think we realized how much we value each other creatively," she said.

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SCHIAPARELLI CHANNELS 1930'S

Singers Kylie Minogue and Pixie Lott and actress Melissa George lined up at Schiaparelli's morning show, which aptly kicked off couture week offering a view across the majestic Place Vendome.

The age-old maison evoked the romantic nostalgia of the late Elsa Schiaparelli's 1930s heyday, while cinched waists and ribboned espadrilles added touches of the 1950s style.

Designer Bertrand Guyon was mainly on form this season — using rolling, layered pleats to evoke the 30s in a rose gold hand-painted silk chiffon gown. Its shoulders were lobbed off in a stylish contemporary touch.

A midnight blue dress evoked a slinky quality, produced by the weight of embroidered crystals on soft chiffon fabric.

Elsewhere, fun post-war details were referenced as coarse raffia fringing jazzing up a multicolored banana tree fiber gown, and the house's signature surrealist insect motifs infested a 1950s white faux-leather jacket. Sometimes, designs were a tad heavy-handed.

But the piece de resistance, a black gown with a dramatic full skirt, fluttered by literally and figuratively with all-encompassing silver gilt butterflies.

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VAN HERPEN'S ABSTRACTIONS

Iris Van Herpen deftly captured the beauty and fragility of nature in a sublime couture display.

The decor of baroque-like swirls of fabric led the eye to the collection of 21 vibrant gowns that riffed on the organic.

While she abandoned none of the abstract musing that has won her critical acclaim, the Dutch conceptual designer evolved this season's styles in a more wearable direction.

Abstract foliage in aqua green, held together from a nude bodice, looked remarkably like it had grown from, or was fused with, the model's body.

A cascading silver gown that played on watery transparencies resembled a jelly fish with its myriad stripes and dots.

The silhouette sometimes borrowed from the long sleeves or caped silhouette of the Middle Ages in a collection that stood out in the crowded couture calendar.

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PROENZA SCHOULER CHANNELS 70S VIBE

The New York-based ready-to-wear label Proenza Schouler delivered its sophomore display for Paris Couture Week and it was all about 1970s American craft.

Center-partings, velvet, flared sleeves, tassels, turtlenecks, fringing and patchwork styles merged together — and always with subtlety — as they appeared to a funky, retro-sounding soundtrack.

The ethnic styles preferred by hippies of the era were referenced in giant statement necklaces, huge earrings and the clasps and beading on the flame red, black and brown looks.

Indeed, it was fastidious detailing — what the house called "a sense of handcraft" — that defined the spirit of the perfectly executed designs.

It was an accomplished, architectural collection for designers Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.

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Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasA

Cosby jokes in 1st show since 2015 he 'used to be' comedian

Bill Cosby performed in public for the first time since a sex abuse scandal embroiled him in 2015, joking that he "used to be a comedian" and playing with a jazz band in his hometown as a retrial looms in his criminal sexual assault case.

The 80-year-old entertainer took the stage for about an hour Monday night at a Philadelphia jazz club for his first show since May 2015. Before a friendly crowd, he told stories, honored old friends and finished by leading the band in a set, first using his mouth to scat in place of a missing horn section and then taking a turn at the drums.

Cosby, handing the drumsticks off to the bass player's 11-year-old son, asked if the boy knew who he was and then told him.

"I used to be a comedian," Cosby deadpanned.

Cosby reminisced about his childhood, telling the crowd about how when he was 4 he grilled a relative about the impending birth of his brother. He mimicked his Uncle William, who took a swig from a cocktail before answering every question — including whether a stork was really delivering the baby to his parents.

Afterward, Cosby nearly dropped a glass jar he was using as a prop, prompting a "Whoa!" from the crowd.

Cosby, who's legally blind, seized on the moment.

"Let me tell you something about people talking to blind people, you sighted people," Cosby said. "If you see a blind person walking into a pole or something, if you speak perfect English, there's a word called 'Stop!' Not 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!'

"You laugh when blind people walk into things," he continued. "And guess what: Blind people laugh when sighted people fall down!"

Cosby arrived at the jazz club on the arm of his spokesman, Andrew Wyatt. He wore a gray hoodie bearing the phrase "Hello Friend," something his late son, Ennis Cosby, often would say.

He posed for photos with friends, including a couple he honored at the start of his set. They all grew up in the same public housing complex.

Cosby said he decided to make his return to the stage because of his friends.

"I came here tonight to enjoy being with my friends and the musicians and the people who came," he said after the show.

He declined to discuss his upcoming retrial in a sexual assault case.

During the show, the receptive crowd applauded and laughed along with Cosby's jokes, a far cry from how his last performances went. His last comedy tour ended amid protests as about 60 women were coming forward to accuse him of drugging and molesting them over five decades, something he has denied.

Cosby is scheduled for an April 2 retrial on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He has pleaded not guilty and remains free on bail. His first trial ended with a hung jury last year. Jury selection for his retrial will start March 29.

Cosby's spokesman notified reporters of the comedy performance about two hours before he was to take the stage at the LaRose Jazz Club. The show was part of a program honoring jazz musician Tony Williams.

Outside the jazz club there was one protester, a woman who frequently hounded Cosby at his trial last year. She played Helen Reddy's song "I Am Woman" on a loop and held up a sign that said, "Perseverance to all survivors."

The jazz club performance is Cosby's latest step back into the spotlight he's mostly shied from since his December 2015 arrest.

Two weeks ago, Cosby invited reporters to tag along as he ate dinner with old friends at a Philadelphia restaurant.

Over the weekend, Cosby's social media accounts featured photos of him visiting a barber and a cafe in the area and showing support for the Philadelphia Eagles, who won Sunday's NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings and secured a spot in the Super Bowl.

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This story has been corrected to show the arrest was in 2015, not 2005.

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