Oct 3, 2008
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Lagerfeld's invitation to shop

Oct 3, 2008

PARIS, Oct 3, 2008 (AFP) - Karl Lagerfeld recreated the facade of Chanel's headquarters at 31 rue Cambon as the backdrop for his summer show for the house in the Grand Palais gallery on Friday, October 3rd.

Chanel FashionShow, spring-summer 2009 collection. Photo : PixelFormula

He even emblazoned the address on some of the new season's handbags, going one step further than the logo, in what will surely prove a shrewd marketing ploy.

The global winds of recession may be blowing but the mood on the catwalk was buoyant: after all, Chanel suits are confidence-boosting and can always be written down as an investment.

House hallmark tweeds were waffled, loose-weave in graphic black and white for a coat with elbow-length sleeves and rounded shoulders over a chain-mail tunic, a boxy two-piece cinched by a shiny wide cummerbund and a slim skirt with a candy pink cardigan with cable knit sleeves.

Jackets abbreviated to just below the bosom were held together by reams of chains and necklaces which tucked into low-slung belts.

His New Age gypsies in tiered flouncy skirts in a iridescent floral print in soft pinks and greys, overlaid with sheer black chiffon, carried guitars with their own Chanel quilted case like the iconic bag.

They were shod in clear vinyl platforms with flippant pink or black pompoms at the ankle.

After a turn by four male dandies, festooned with chains, the girls performed a final runway twirl, all swinging little Chanel carrier bags.

Lagerfeld declined to comment after the collection, saying: "I have overdosed on myself."

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's answer to the economic downturn is faith and optimism.

"We have been treating luxury as the answer to the recession, but I believe it is having convictions. I believe in hope, beauty and a sense of humour," he told AFP after his show which was brimming with fun and vibrant with colour.

He set the jolly mood with a backdrop and floor painted with white clouds in a brilliant blue sky, also used in his opening numbers.

Catsuits with wide flappy legs, harem pants, cheeky shorts and shifts, tumbled out in deckchair stripes, a print that looked like children's lego bricks and another like spattered paint, all in bold primary colours.

Models had rainbow bracelets up to their elbows and triple stacked platform heels on their feet in combinations of red, blue, yellow and green.

As well as his usual favourite Disney characters Goofy and Mickey Mouse, Castelbajac stuck a portait of US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on the front of a black and yellow sequinned mini dress, with the slogan "I have a dream today" on the back.

The designer took his runway bow with a 'bride' completely hidden behind shaggy platinum blonde wigs.

St-Petersburg-based Alena Akhmadullina's summer collection was refined and feminine, with some quirky touches.

She showed lots of dainty frocks with off-the-shoulder necklines and drawstring hems in a sprigged floral print in dusty pastels, also used for floaty harem pants, sarouels and layered dresses cut like flower petals.

But the lightness was sometimes spoilt by rather heavy-handed use of passementerie for halternecks as thick as ropes, or wound into cages enclosing the top of dresses and even statement earrings and wierd antler like protuberances perched on the models' heads.by Sarah Shard

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