Backstage at Chanel: Getting glam is hard work

24th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 24, 2007 (AFP) - "Everybody stand back." A rehearsal for the Chanel fashion show is about to begin and the backstage crew is busy clearing the way for a huge carpet emblazoned with interlocking Cs to be rolled out.

PARIS, Jan 24, 2007 (AFP) - "Everybody stand back." A rehearsal for the Chanel fashion show is about to begin and the backstage crew is busy clearing the way for a huge carpet emblazoned with interlocking Cs to be rolled out.

It's 9:30 am. In two hours' time, hundreds of fashion buyers and editors from around the world are due to take their seats, on an invitation-only basis, to view the kind of clothes only the rich and famous can afford.

"Stand by everyone." The band which with singer Cat Power will perform live for the show starts playing and one by one models emerge, each guided on where to stand, pause or turn on the carpet.

Everyone was asked to put on blue plastic covers over their shoes to avoid scuffing the pristine pale carpet laid out under the massive cupola of the late 19th century Grand Palais.

The girls are still dressed in their own clothes -- long winter scarves, jeans and boots for many, though a lot of them have already passed through the hands of the armies of make-up artists and hair stylists.

"It's a small head accompanied by a feather created for us by Lemarie," said Odile Gilbert, in charge of the team of 20 hairdressers who will sculpt a French twist with a pony tail on each model.

The idea is to create an elegance with "an attitude like dancers", she said of the look which required 20 minutes' work by a stylist armed with an array of brushes, blowers, sprays, grips and hair straighteners.

In front of one of the dozens of mirrors leant up against the brightly-lit wall, one stylist stands "ironing" a hair piece. In the middle of the room lay plastic bags holding photos of how each girl must look.

"We didn't sleep, we finished at 2:00," Gilbert said, referring to run-through sessions on the two days ahead of the big event although the style is decided on two to three weeks in advance.

"Karl (Lagerfeld) is somebody who has very precise ideas on what he wants," she said. A veteran of styling for Chanel, she said she kept a close eye on the pre-show styling process. "It's like cooking."

American model Angela Lindvall sits having her hair worked on while somebody else paints her nails at the same time. She has been there since 8:00 am. "It's going great, I'm totally enjoying being in Paris and doing the couture," the 28-year-old who lives in Los Angeles said.

People with walkie-talkies and a security guard with an Alsatian dog are on hand but the atmosphere is calm and relaxed as people smoke or munch breakfast while getting the models catwalk-ready.

"It's graphic makeup on the eyes," said Peter Philips, the Belgian in charge of 18 makeup artists.

He said about half an hour was needed to give each of the 42 models the agreed look, in this case eyes made up in black and white, to round off designer Karl Lagerfeld's haute couture vision to be revealed later on the catwalk.

After a short break, Philips said he would be moving on to start creating a whole new different look for Givenchy's evening show.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French News

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