There was a dandyish air to the Chanel collection in Paris yesterday, as Karl Lagerfeld showcased high ruffled collars inspired by the dapper dresser Beau Brummell.
The show began after Chanel staff narrowly avoided a fight with photographers jostling to snap Kate Moss in the front row. The British model sat with her boyfriend, Jamie Hince, Claudia Schiffer and Freida Pinto. Lily Allen was further along. Security guards pitched in and a heated scuffle ensued.
The influence of Brummell's Regency period look could be seen in black wool shift dresses and coats with detachable cuffs and collars of white net, concertina pleated, frayed chiffon or cut-out flowers.
The inspiration had been given a feminine, delicate twist. Lagerfeld said he had made "a version that is very Chanel, very Paris and very modern".
Glittery black tweed and quilted satin injected glamour into the classic Chanel suit and a tweed coat had touches of green and white. Slender, coal-coloured evening dresses had skirts of layered silk.
Classic monochrome dominated the show but Lagerfeld said: "I wanted a touch of colour so I used pink and green inspired by different types of jade."
Pink made the bigger (albeit not entirely favourable) impression. Candy floss-coloured trousers with a black puffa jacket, pink legwarmers and a shrimp-coloured knitted dress with fringed shawl failed to live up to the haughty elegance of the black designs.
What were such fluffy pieces doing in an otherwise typically chic collection? Perhaps Lagerfeld was offering his own homage to Barbie on her 50th anniversary.
His quirky takes on the Chanel bag showed that he does have a sense of humour: Satchels were worn as rucksacks and clear plastic briefcases had chain handles and visible compartments for glasses, make-up and for a second, mini, handbag – they looked every part the prop of a fashionable Avon lady.
Later in the day, the Valentino show captured the richly-coloured, old world glamour that made its founder, Valentino Garavani, famous. The collection, now created by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, kept dress and coat shapes simple – foils to vibrant shades of sunflower yellow, peacock blue, emerald, burgundy and red.
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