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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Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen