The girls from the pearl at Chanel

A monumental lion, teeth bared and one front paw resting proprietorially on a giant pearl, held centre stage, its golden coat caught in the setting sun under the glass dome of the Grand Palais.

Karl Lagerfeld is a past master at dreaming up attention-grabbing scenarios for his Chanel shows, and Tuesday night's was no exception.

It looked like an allusion to Jean Cocteau's Surreal masterpiece "Beauty and the Beast" when the traditional bride at the end was accompanied by a groom wearing a lion's head over his wedding suit. However Lagerfeld told AFP it had been inspired by a small bronze lion found in Coco Chanel's apartment.

But the symbolism of Coco's fetish pearls was clear enough. It was a witty touch to have the models disgorged onto the runway from the pearl which opened like an oyster.

While his ready-to-wear lines for next autumn-winter were all shaggy fake fur, shown against genuine melting ice floes, Lagerfeld's couture collection was very much in keeping with the house's traditions.

His new season's take on the Chanel suit was a neat bolero jacket, with sleeves cropped above or around the elbow, worn over clingy skirts or body-hugging dresses, even incorporated into them.

He showed them in the hallmark handcrafted tweeds in oatmeal, hazelnut, chestnut and plum, with a noticeable absence of black.

To add luxury, knobbly tweeds were threaded with lurex and collars, cuffs and hemlines were even double-edged in fur.

Some jackets had double breasted jewel buttons in front, which then continued down the dress underneath, others were buttoned demurely down the back.

More glamorous variations on the same theme were offered for after dusk, spangled with thousands of minuscule two millimetre pearls.

Among the stand-out pieces were a tailcoat embroidered with pink and green flowers, ending in a natty bow, and a sparkly tapestry top in muted shades of pink, blue and green, set against an autumnal brown.

A geometric shiny satin print glittered with lines of rhinestones and a frock in lacquered red sequins had flower appliques strewn from the hip.

At their wrists the models dangled extraordinary bracelets, a confusion of chains and precious stones, and they were shod in boots which looked like the golden curls of a lion's mane.

Givenchy has decided from now on to present its couture collection to customers in the intimate surroundings of a salon, far away from the hullabaloo of the catwalk show.

Earlier Tuesday the house's chief stylist, Italian Riccardo Tisci, unveiled 10 outfits in private rooms in the ritzy Place Vendome. In white, powder pink and gold, one dress alone took nearly 1,200 hours work, while another, mingling gold chains and lace in a tulle ensemble with a silk satin corset, kept 40 people busy for two weeks.

The click of the models' heels on the parquet echoed as they showed the clothes in movement. A black lace dress with laser-cut leather appliques across the bosom, worn with a skirt worked in ostrich feathers in graduated shades of grey mounted on tulle, was a perfect example of the dizzying level of workmanship demanded by couture.

This manner of presentation gives it back its feeling of exclusivity and "does proper justice to couture" because it enables you to see all the details, the house's press service explained.

French designer Stephane Rolland's collection, also shown Tuesday, had a Gothic feel, full of floor-sweeping billowing capes, elbow-length gauntlets and second-skin leathers with zippers down the front, in black and murky greys and browns.

Silhouettes were exaggerated with giant cowl necklines, or pointed collars like wind cones, and leg'o'mutton sleeves. Crystal brooches and belt buckles were huge and clunky.

Except for their hair, worn loose, models looked cocooned in their puffy gowns, with a top layer of sheer silk chiffon adding to the padded effect.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Primary Teacher Cornwall

    £23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: ***KS1 & KS2 Teachers ...

    LSA (afterschool club) vacancy in Newport

    £40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...

    Trust Accountant - Kent

    NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

    Geography Teacher

    £85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style