Subdued elegance with ruffles and fringe at Chanel

Tue Jul 3, 2012 1:50pm EDT
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By Mathilde Gardin and Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - The favorite of the ladies who lunch, Karl Lagerfeld presented a toned down, vintage-inspired collection for Chanel on Tuesday, whose grey and pink palette and classic shapes provided a refined counterpoint to the excesses of Fashion Week.

Models flitted by to a light disco soundtrack, the gossamer ruffles on their sleeves and hems quivering above the catwalk, as guests sat around wicker tables inside a gallery of the airy Grand Palais adorned with camellias.

With a demure ruffle here, a discrete fringe there, and a plethora of raspberry and pale sorbet pinks, Lagerfeld presented an uber-feminine Haute Couture collection that at times felt more spring-like than Fall/Winter 2012-2013.

Light-as-air ruffles adorned the shoulders of one pale pink party dress, imparting angel wings to its wearer, while small powder puffs of feathers cascaded down another long and lean look - an ethereal nod to the pearls that Coco Chanel loved so well.

A chemise of delicate white feathers was coupled with sailor pants in snow white, while a smartly cut suit the color of clotted cream used softened military details at the breast to impart a polished and sharp look.

"I wanted a modern elegance, casual," Lagerfeld, who paradoxically titled his show "New Vintage," told reporters after the show.

The collection's subdued refinement and occasional flights of fancy may have found inspiration in none other than Lagerfeld's newest design assistant - his fluffy white cat, Choupette.

The designer whipped out his iPhone and showed off photos of his pampered feline to reporters. The pale blue eyes of Choupette, whom Lagerfeld has described as a "kept woman", had already influenced Chanel's Spring-Summer collection presented earlier this year.   Continued...

A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for French fashion house Chanel as part of his Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2012/2013 fashion show in Paris July 3, 2012. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier