Corseted waists, plumed dresses in pastel pink and glittery white mark the Chanel Spring/Summer 2014 show as designer Karl Lagerfeld says the collection's kicky sneakers bring "reality" to couture.
PARIS, FRANCE (JANUARY 21, 2014) (REUTERS) - Karl Lagerfeld really knows how to put on a show -- not content to follow the fashion week formula of a runway, a dark room and a phalanx of bored-looking models, the creative director of Chanel presented no less than an orchestra, a revolving stage, two curving staircases and over 60 suits and dresses in sorbet shades at his Paris show on Tuesday (January 21).
"To give to very expensive, handmade, beautiful crafted clothes, an attitude of -- I wouldn't say street wear or sports wear but -- something everybody wears in daily life. It brings couture in a way to reality. Look, when they came downstairs running, it's a like a woman who is opening the door for her boyfriend and trying to get quickly to the door," said Lagerfeld after the show, explaining his choice of footwear.
Silhouettes were cinched at the waist, with corset skirts under cropped jackets in creamy pale ivories and lavenders.
A tight waist of black sparkles dramatically divided four tiers of pleated ruffles in metallic dove grey silk on the bodice of a dress from another ruffled cascade at the hem.
In pairing sneakers with the highly embellished haute couture looks, Lagerfeld winked at the prevalence of sportswear and displayed his trademark sense of humour.
Models emerged from an entrance at the crest of the double staircase wearing silver elbow- and knee-pads - presumably to fend off the hoards of women willing to kill for one of these Chanel outfits.
The Paris shows, which run through Friday, are a prestigious showcase for a select group of couture houses whose garments are meticulously hand sewn by highly skilled artisans.
Haute couture - which due to its prohibitive cost is worn by only a few hundred of the richest women around the world - has a minimal effect on a luxury brand's sales, but is a major marketing driver for the $275 billion global luxury industry.
Privately owned Chanel does not disclose financial results.
The tried and true design motifs from the House of Chanel like Peter Pan collars, black bows at the neck and crisp white cuffs all made an appearance this season, but not a pearl was in sight.
Lagerfeld interrupted his decidedly pretty collection of elegant looks for Spring/Summer with a dose of show-stopping dresses that managed to be both avant-garde and beautiful.
Combining turquoise, purple and black plumes with glittery tulle and thickly embellished fabric, the spiky, glittery dresses turned their wearers into psychedelic punk hedgehogs - very glam ones, of course.
Another featured an iridescent sheer man-made fabric that resembled chic Saran Wrap.
Hair was spiky and worn in a tuft above the crown: "I like the idea of something wild," said Lagerfeld. "There's a kind of fantasy up there."