Life and Style
 

Stellar showings summarise the new spirit of modernity that’s revitalising the stuffy world of haute couture, says Alexander Fury

François Lesage was famed for his intricate handiwork that gave the detail to some of the finest haute couture creations of the 20th century

Farewell to man who gave haute couture its shimmer

The legendary embroidery designer, François Lesage, whose elaborate handiwork has graced the designs of all the grandest couturiers for more than half a century, died in Paris yesterday at the age of 82. As well as providing fanciful surface embellishment to everyone from Cristobal Balenciaga to Yves Saint Laurent and from Christian Dior to Valentino Garavani, as a young man Lesage put the glittering finishing touches to the costumes of Hollywood greats including Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner and Olivia de Havilland, all of whom sparkled both on screen and off in his hands.

Never-ending stories: Is there anything left for biographers to reveal?

Gone are the days of respectful 'life-writings' and long gaps between comparative biographical studies. As yet another Coco Chanel exposé arrives, John Walsh asks, are there still any new facts for writers to uncover?

Artistic licence: The most influential make-up artist in the world

Peter Philips, creative director of beauty for Chanel, is the most influential make-up artist in the world. It's the ultimate dream job, he tells Susannah Frankel

Coco Chanel, By Justine Picardie

As her styles have endured, so the career of Coco Chanel has become a catwalk where writers and film-makers galore can strut their stuff.

Scents and sensibility: Leah Capaldi sprays actors in Chanel for performance piece

Leah Capaldi's performance piece involves two actors at a time (one female, one male), who will each be sprayed with a whole bottle of Chanel Allure or Allure Pour Homme. They will walk among visitors at The Tramshed in London, as part of an exhibition of work, by this year's five shortlisted artists for The Catlin Art Prize – taken from The Catlin Guide, an annual survey of the 40 most promising art graduates.

Susannah Shops: Nothing like a touch of sludge

Susannah Frankel

Chanel provides the fire, McQueen the ice

"Icy, regal, beautiful," said the designer Sarah Burton of her second collection for the house of Alexander McQueen. And it was all of those things. With gleaming armoured heads and delicate, pale faces, models stalked the historic loggias of the Conciergerie, the prison where Marie Antoinette awaited the guillotine, in finely wrought clothing that was as inspired as it was empowering.

Vanessa Paradis, Koko, London

The arrival of Vanessa Paradis, partner of Johnny Depp, actress, model and face of Chanel, in Camden Town is an event. As a singer, she's still best known for the 1987 hit "Joe le Taxi", so this was a rare chance to see her music live. The concert was pretty much a run-through of last Christmas's French-only CD Une Nuit à Versailles, a live, orchestrated, acoustic-leaning recasting of her back catalogue. Despite issuing ten albums since 1988, Paradis's oeuvre is slim – one is a "Best of" and four are live sets.

Curves and crystals as Lagerfeld sets pace for Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld lived up to his Kaiser credentials yesterday when he showed his biannual haute couture collection for the house of Chanel in Paris.

DVD: Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (15)

It's difficult dealing with icons, especially when you're domesticating them. Coco & Igor charts the love affair between designer Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and composer Igor Stravinsky during his spell at her holiday home outside Paris.

Carola Long: Chanel soap set

Drum roll please for what might be the chic-est thing the Indy fashion desk have ever seen: Chanel No.5 soap.

Age of austerity? Last of the great couturiers goes for broke

Lagerfeld recreates a mock-Versailles for Chanel

Moth-eaten chic at Chanel

Hole-ridden tweed suits that looked like they'd been devoured by generations of moths opened Chanel's spring-summer 2011 ready-to-wear show today with what seemed like a sly commentary on the French heritage house's amazing staying power.

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