For Chanel's haute couture collection in Paris on Tuesday,
creative director Lagerfeld presented no less than an orchestra,
a revolving stage, two curving staircases and over 60 suits and
dresses in sorbet shades for Spring/Summer 2014.
Under the soaring ceiling of the Grand Palais, the rapt audience
was treated to a frothy and oh-so-chic spectacle as models in
sparkly sneakers skipped down the stairs to musical
"To give to very expensive, handmade, beautiful crafted clothes
... an attitude of something everybody wears in daily life, that
brings couture, in a way, to reality," said Lagerfeld after the
show, explaining the choice of footwear.
Silhouettes were cinched at the waist — no overeating for Chanel
wearers this season — with corset skirts under cropped jackets
in creamy pale ivories, lavenders and even a shocking Pepto
A tight waist of black sparkles dramatically separated four
tiers of pleated ruffles in metallic dove grey silk on the
bodice of a dress from another ruffled cascade at the hem.
In pairing sneakers with the highly embellished haute couture
looks, Lagerfeld gave a nod to the prevalence of sportswear and
displayed his trademark sense of humor.
Models emerged from an entrance at the crest of the double
staircase wearing silver elbow- and knee-pads — presumably to
fend off the hoards of women willing to kill for such an outfit.
The Paris shows, which run until Friday, are a prestigious
showcase for a select group of couture houses whose garments are
meticulously hand-sewn by highly skilled artisans.
Haute couture — which due to its prohibitive cost is worn by
only a few hundred of the richest women around the world — has a
minimal effect on a luxury brand's sales, but it is a major
marketing driver for the $275 billion global luxury industry.
Privately owned Chanel does not disclose financial results.
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The tried and true design motifs from the House of Chanel such as
Peter Pan collars, black bows at the neck, crisp white cuffs and
knubby fabrics all made an appearance this season, but there was not
a pearl in sight.
Lagerfeld interrupted his decidedly pretty
collection of elegant looks for Spring/Summer with a dose of
show-stopping dresses that managed to be both avant-garde and
Combining turquoise, purple and black plumes with
glittery tulle and thickly embellished fabric, the spiky, sparkly
dresses turned their wearers into psychedelic punk hedgehogs — very
glam ones, of course.
Another featured an iridescent sheer man-made fabric that resembled
chic Saran Wrap.
Hair was spiky and worn in a tuft above the crown.
"I like the idea of something wild," said Lagerfeld. "There's a kind
of fantasy up there."
Lagerfeld played with lengths and fabrics, offering a long narrow
pink jacket with tiered bands of sequins worn with skinny trousers,
mid-thigh hot pants paired with a gamine and modest long sleeved top
and a series of sheer dresses.
"There is a second dress, all embroidered and
sequined, under the first dress. They look completely naked. But
they're not," Lagerfeld said.
Paris fashion week has already seen a crisp, clean and elegant Dior
show, punctuated by oversized eyelet silk, while Atelier Versace
gave a nod to 1980s singer Grace Jones with hoods and draped silk
jersey dresses in chartreuse and purple.
But the most eagerly awaited ticket was Monday's debut collection of
Marco Zanini at the head of the resuscitated Schiaparelli, the
couture house of the 1930's doyenne of Paris fashion, Elsa
(Additional reporting by Sunaina
Karkarey; editing by Gareth Jones)
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