Optimism ruled the runways at the Paris collections, where designers of all ages, origins and affiliations - avant-garde and old-school, extroverted and obscure - said au revoir to Sars, war and a lagging luxury market by embracing a new femininity for spring. Here, everything you need to know - the mood, muses and miscellany - about next season. Heard at the shows Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir? at Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche; Jimi Hendrix's The Star Spangled Banner at Undercover; Mini Riperton's Loving You at Lanvin; Courtney Love, Marianne Faithfull and house music at Christian Dior; disco at Martin Margiela's surprisingly light signature show; Donna Summer at Celine; Peaches at Loewe; Heart Of Glass by Blondie at Chanel; five different versions of Be My Sugar, Baby at Ann Demeulemeester; Massive Attack and banjo music at Alexander McQueen; Neneh Cherry at John Galliano; and Pump Up The Jam at Louis Vuitton. You say goodbye ... and I say hello A fond farewell to Martin Margiela who, after a six-year tenure at Hermes, will be replaced by Jean Paul Gaultier next spring. Pictured left is a white and red sweater from the Hermes collection. Making their debuts: Swede Lars Nilsson at Nina Ricci, the French house that has seen a revolving door of designers in the past few years; and Bruno Frisoni as design director at Roger Vivier. Front row and centre There was a surprisingly low celebrity count at the Paris shows this season, with Sir Paul McCartney (right) and pregnant wife Heather at Stella McCartney, Roman Polanski at Helmut Lang, Amelie star Audrey Tautou and Marianne Faithfull at Chanel, Faithfull and Isabelle Huppert at Dior, Tilda Swinton at Viktor & Rolf, Tracy Emin at Vivienne Westwood and local star Maggie Q. (left with Michael Kors) at Celine. Noted, however, was a trend for top models reversing roles by sitting front row while their peers walked the runway: Natalia Vodianova took in Lanvin, along with hubby and baby boy, after sitting alongside Kate Moss and Stella Tennant, who is reporting on Paris collections for American Vogue, at Chanel. Former Rudi Gernreich muse and 1960s supermodel, Peggy Moffitt, also made an appearance at Junya Watanabe and Comme des Garcons. To see and be seen in Check out Viktor & Rolf's (below ) 10-year retrospective at the Musee de la Mode et Textile, and Christian Lacroix's Monsters show in the Tuileries gardens. Fashion week also witnessed the opening of new boutiques: Helmut Lang's gallery-like flagship features installations by Jenny Holzer and Louise Bourgeois, while Tod's temple of consumerism is a bastion of tasteful minimalism. Breath of fresh air 'We're coming out of a very difficult moment as human beings, reacting to a lot of world turmoil. We want to breathe in air - it's time for release and to move on.' Stella McCartney sums up the mood of the season to AP Best in show Alexander McQueen outdid himself for spring, staging a song-and-dance extravaganza (above left). Choreographed by Michael Clarke for six months, the show was inspired by the dark, Depression-set film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? The clothes were stellar, from sequined siren gowns and bejewelled catsuits to fluted denim skirts and ubiquitous floral print dresses. Alber Elbaz (above right) came up trumps for Lanvin, basing the collection around loosely-knotted bows that trailed from satin slip dresses and skirts like trains, topped off with lace blindfolds for Eyes Wide Shut frisson. And, rounding off the top three, Helmut Lang's spring collection featured masterful superimpositions of sexy, short dresses in a cool colour palette inspired by dragonflies. Key trends Colour, from the soft (lilac, mint) to the shocking (Schiaparelli pink, bling-bling metallics), was everywhere, as were a plethora of prints (think florals, polka dots and tropical motifs). There was also a strong showing of lingerie-inspired looks, from corsets (Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino) and bustiers (Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior) to bras (Lanvin, Louis Vuitton) and garter belts (Dior, Gaultier, John Galliano, pictured far right). Fabrics are feminine, including chiffon, tulle, satin and lace, often with a touch of iridescence, broderie anglaise (as seen at Chloe, pictured top right), ornamentation (feathers, embroideries, tiers, tassles). At many houses, there is a longing for simpler, chicer times - be they ancient (see Cleopatra at Louis Vuitton), Enlightenment (John Galliano's poufs of Madame de Pompadour proportions) or decadent (1970s satin suits at Yves Saint Laurent, 1930s diva dresses at Alexander McQueen, Der Blaue Engel-era Marlene Dietrich at Dior, 1960s modernism at Paco Rabanne, pictured left). As for accessories, look out for killer bags from Louis Vuitton (above right), and Chanel, where they resembled oversized audio cassettes (above left) and 45rpm singles.