Feathers and fountains in Chanel's French garden

5th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Karl Lagerfeld conjured the spirit of Versailles for Chanel Tuesday in a glamorous procession of feathers, faux-tweed, rips and lace.

Under the vast glass domes of Paris' Grand Palais exhibition hall, models walked out on white gravel, between fountains and black rock "hedges", a wintry garden effect to showcase the label's ready-to-wear look for next summer.

Actress Keira Knightley and singers Lily Allen and Courtney Love were among the famous faces who graced the front rows as the hall filled with orchestral renditions of pop anthems from Bjork to Oasis.

"It's Versailles. It's -- quote -- 'dead French'," the designer quipped after the show.

Models wore silver or gold platform ankle boots or platform sandals that morphed into black leather thigh boots, their hair pulled back into slick pony tails or cut short and boyish.

Chanel classics were there -- but sexed-up and revisited -- like faux-tweed skirt suits in pastel yellow and pink, or jackets twinned with risque mini-shorts in black, ivory or lime green.

A navy blue knitted dress flowed into a see-through pencil skirt that left the top of the thighs -- and even a bit more -- completely bare.

Ostrich feathers puffed out a jacket, spiced up the hem of a tweed-effect dress, the collar of a black ball gown, or dressed a model head to toe, in a coral sleeveless dress that swept caressingly around the legs.

The feathers, Lagerfeld said, were a tribute to the enigmatic 1961 film "Last Year in Marienbad," for which Coco Chanel designed the costumes.

Dayside fabrics were given a roughing-up, with ripped holes piercing black and white jackets, while a baby-pink satin dress had rectangular panels of slashed strips like shredded paper.

Skinny grey jeans had ripped featuring too, creating tiny holes that gave a peek at the pink or yellow underneath.

"Fashion changes, fabrics change -- that's what is fascinating. But there has to be a certain mystery in novelty," Lagerfeld told reporters of the show's trompe l'oeil tweed, rips and other quirks.

For evening, Chanel's trademark black was back en force, with 1980s top model and former face of Chanel, Ines de la Fressange, closing the display in a black lace gown of opaque and see-through stripes, laid over a silk black skirt.

"We've seen enough of 15-year-old Russians," he told AFP after the show. "Fashion shouldn't be reserved to teenagers."

Lagerfeld also sent out his male model muse Baptiste Giabiconi in skin tight jeans with a low slung metal belt, and a man and baby son duo in matching jeans and white jackets -- the only genuine tweed in the show, the designer said.

© 2010 AFP

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