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Chanel unveils a feathered, embroidered and bedazzling couture collection

posted 22 Jan 2013, 11:11 by Mpelembe   [ updated 22 Jan 2013, 11:11 ]

Karl Lagerfeld bedazzles with feathers and embroidery at the Chanel couture show.

PARISFRANCE (JANUARY 22, 2013) (REUTERS) -  Chanel is undeniably one of the hot-ticket events of Paris couture week and the lucky guests invited to Karl Lagerfeld's spring/summer 2013 catwalk show on Tuesday (January 22) were treated to a real spectacle.

The luxury French fashion house constructed a separate amphitheatre inside the Grand Palais filled with real Scot pines and towering Holm oaks, echoing the Dior show held on Monday that also revolved around the theme of an enchanted forest. The mannequins resembled nymphs in their lavish feathered, embroidered and embellished frocks.

Chanel's global creative director for make-up Peter Philips gave them a dark smoky eye with winged shadowed shapes that lent a Gothic feel to the entire collection while international hair stylist Sam McKnight created messy updos accented by hair accessories in blue, black and white made from silk, feather, lace and cotton veils.

The collection was dramatic and ornate with a colour palette consisting mainly of white, grey and black. Chantilly lace was layered over iconic Chanel boucle suits and cream and eau de nil feathers decorated tulle necklines and hems. Embroidered and sequinned flowers bloomed on long column dresses. The models wore delicate thigh-high lace peep-toe boots.

Though the silhouette was varied and diverse with some pieces featuring 50s-inspired bracelet-length sleeves and others sporting empire-line gowns harking back to the days of Empress Josephine, there was a consistent emphasis on exaggerated shoulders.

The wedding gown finale, a standard custom at haute couture shows, was unconventional, with two brides strutting down the runway hand in hand, a possible riposte to the thousands who recently protested in Paris against French PresidentFrançois Hollande's plan to legalize same-sex marriage.

"It's something that I find natural and I find quite nice should two women marry," Lagerfeld told reporters backstage post-show. 'In my opinion, two mothers are better than two fathers."

Lagerfeld's godson Hudson Kroenig accompanied the two Chanel brides on the runway for the show finale. The four-year-old is quickly becoming a well-seasoned veteran of the French fashion house. He previously walked Chanel's autumn/winter 2012 show on the arm of model Heidi Mont as well as for Chanel's metiers d'art show in Scotland. His father is model Brad Kroenig, a long-time muse of Lagerfeld who dedicated an entire exhibit and photography book to him. The two met at a shoot for "V Man" and Kroenig has often said that he owes the success of his modelling career to Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld told reporters that despite the boy's young age, he already has an enviable resume when it comes to strutting on the catwalk.

"He's used to it. He has already done photo campaigns, and on top of that, he's already walked the show with the French garden, the amethysts thing here [in the Grand Palais], no, no he's used to it, he did the Scotland show as well... And he's really funny, he's frequently solicited, but he tells them, 'I only work with Karl," Lagerfeld said.

Paris Haute Couture Week runs through Thursday. Highlights of the week include shows by such storied French and Italian fashion houses as Christian Dior, Chanel, Giorgio Armani Prive, Jean Paul Gaultier and Valentino.