Paris Fashion Week : Chanel and Lacroix

PARIS, July 3, 2007 (AFP) - It rained on Karl Lagerfeld's parade for Chanel on Tuesday, July 3rd with a vengeance. The heavens opened, turning the garden venue in Saint Cloud in the outlying Paris suburbs into a quagmire before the show had even begun.




Creation of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris,

Tuesday, July 2nd - Photo : François Guillot/AFP


Models gamely squelched their way around the gravel catwalk and across sodden turf in their stiletto heels, while the normally privileged front row VIPs watched from soaked seats under dripping marquees.

Fortunately for the models it was Lagerfeld's autumn-winter haute couture collection, offering at least some cover from the elements. In fact, the cover-up might have been uncomfortable in a heatwave.




Creation of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris, Tuesday, July 2nd

Photo : François Guillot/AFP


Albeit styled like high heeled court shoes, Lagerfeld's supple thigh boots for next season enclosed the legs, and with no visible bare skin it was impossible to see how high they went.

Boots of an exactly matching hue and material blended seamlessly with each outfit, whether a new take on the Chanel cardigan jacket and skirt or a perky short coat with roll collar, half belts at the waist and kick pleats at the back.




Creation of Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris, Tuesday, July 2nd - Photo : François Guillot/AFP


In pine green, baby blue, anthracite or cream with black overstitching, some ensembles were unadorned, while others had a glittery embroidered band running down the sleeve and bootleg on each side.

Similarly, sheer hose came seamed with black satin ribbon, when it was not turned into fingerless over-the-elbow evening gloves.

Cowls and hoods were incorporated into frocks to give a leaner silhouette from head to toe, as in a slinky smoke-grey evening gown with silver and mother-of-pearl appliques like jigsaw pieces. Otherwise Lagerfeld topped off his lace and ruffled creations with dinky 1920s flapper style feather concoctions to match the whooshing feather trains trailing in the mud.




Creation of Christian Lacroix, fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris, Tuesday, July 2nd

Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


If Lagerfeld's evening wear had the delicacy and whimsy of a Fragonard painting, Christian Lacroix returned once again to the sombre, dramatic Spanish old masters, for inspiration for his show, 20 years this month since he opened his own fashion house.




Creation of Christian Lacroix fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris, Tuesday, July 2nd

Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


His stiff shot taffeta and brocade evening coats with sleeves like balloons and an outsize ruby crucifix on a gold chain could have walked straight off a painting by Zurbaran.




Creation of Christian Lacroix fall-winter 2007/2008 Haute Couture show in Paris, Tuesday, July 2nd

Photo : Pierre Verdy/AFP


And naturally, there was more than a passing nod to his native Arles, with wide-brimmed matador hats worn at rakish angles, a plethora of toreador jackets and his hallmark layers of black lace dripping with jet.

Extravagant floor-sweeping damask coats, with ruffled sleeves or huge fur collars, dangling with pom-poms, were shrugged off to reveal a pared down two-piece in chartreuse green felt here, or a silver column dress there.

For the finale, his Russian Orthodox bride wore a crown of amber baubles over floral printed sky blue, mint green and gold brocade and Lacroix joined her on the catwalk for an ovation and the ritual pelting with carnations left on every seat.



By Sarah Shard

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