Lagerfeld takes Chanel to the North Pole

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The sketch of a polar bear by Karl Lagerfeld on the invitation to his autumn-winter show for Chanel on Tuesday was already a big hint.

As a howling wind came over the sound system, screens were hoisted up to reveal gigantic ice floes, from which his models emerged enveloped in shaggy furs to keep out the Arctic cold and splashed through puddles of melted ice in knee high yeti boots.

With bouffant platinum blonde hair swept up, they snuggled into floor-sweeping snow white coats quilted like the Chanel signature handbag, with deep black fur hems, cuffs and stole collars.

Fur mini skirts, even fur pants, were paired with the house tweeds.

Grey flecked fur sprouted from the neck and the elbows of a long-line jacket in a knobbly tweed, which was swathed in fur from the waist down.

The wanton use of fur would have been shocking had any of it been real. But none of it was natural, Lagerfeld confirmed to AFP after the show.

"Fake fur used to be hideous, but there has been enormous progress. There is no reason not to use it nowadays."

Lagerfeld, who "adores snow and ice", said he had been inspired "by the winter we are having", as Paris continued to shiver in glacial winds despite spring sunshine.

For those who are anti-fur even when it is fake, there were tweed ensembles with frayed edges and patchworks of chunky handknits, with touches borrowed from Scandanavian traditional costume, like the crimson braiding and cream fringes on a black day dress.

Delicate ice crystal jewellery filled necklines and clinked like icicles from the hems of cocktail skirts and frocks.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's tongue-in-cheek approach to fashion sets him apart in a world renowned for taking itself very seriously.

For next winter, he imagined a fantastical scenario mingling cartoons and fairy tales, starring Walt Disney's Bambi, the legendary Lady Godiva, famed for riding nude through the streets of Coventry, and King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Against a projected backdrop of a turreted castle with battlements, his models sported plexiglass and chainmail, with armour plated shoulders and prints inspired by the castle's stone walls or stained glass windows.

He updated medieval tapestry by showing it as military camouflage, using it for a pea coat, bustier dress, pouf skirt and bloomers.

Regular front row celebrity Beth Ditto, lead singer of Gossip, had her face emblazoned on a sequin T-shirt dress, which Castelbajac described as "gothic pop".

Bambi appeared on the front of black cashmere jumpers, or nestled on each shoulder, or was screen printed onto a silk caftan to show the famous fawn "as seen on TV", while models wore dinky little velvet antlers as headgear.

For a finale he showed motorcycle leathers. Castelbajac took his bow on the runway with his "bride" in a white perfecto biker's jacket with unicorn's head crash helmet.

Earlier Tuesday the house founded by Thierry Mugler staged its first catwalk show after a long absence, designed by Rosemary Rodriguez, who has been quietly reviving the label, initially with vintage reworkings.

Mugler walked away from fashion after launching his globally successful perfume Angel.

Rodriguez's lines for next winter were in the spirit of luxury biker's wear, featuring wrap-around quilted parkas and duvet coats in pearly grey nylon, flippy short skirts with slashed pleats in black leather and slim catsuits in suede.

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