Lagerfeld back to elegant basics

TASMIN BLANCHARD

Paris

Karl Lagerfeld presented a Chanel collection of the most refined and exquisite tailoring yesterday.

It was one that left no doubt that the designer and long established Chanel atelier has the key to the highest craftsmanship and, what's more shows perfect taste.

The designer returned to the soul of Coco Chanel by staging his show in the intimate surroundings of a suite of rooms at the Hotel Ritz.

Classic tweed was constructed into body-hugging jackets in pink, lilac, citrus green and black, punctuated by gilt and pearl costume belts and worn over elegant floor length black skirts, split high up the leg.

Hats were stamped with Lagerfeld's indelible imprint - all elegance and panache.

For customers who might need liposuction before their arms would fit the skinny sleeves, there were softly cut, peplum jackets with just a breeze of a bias cut ruffle at the neck and a pair of jewelled brooch buttons as fasteners.

The collection made it perfectly clear why women who can afford it will want to be fitted for a jacket that will hold them in shape without a corset.

Lagerfeld eschewed any of the vulgarity that some past Chanel collections have traded on by being unusually dignified and elegant. The signature Chanel jacket was hand-crafted from thousands of mother of pearl sequins and edged in jet - luxurious and restrained at the same time. For evening, there were black tulle 1940s Hollywood pin-up dresses or a gold jewelled sheath fishtail dress. A midnight blue gown glittered with diamante stars.

The show opened and closed with British aristocrat model Stella Tennant, the new face of Chanel. Previous contracts have been held by French pop starlet Vanessa Paradis, Claudia Schiffer, Ines de la Fressange, and Carol Bouquet.

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