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PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Chanel turned its fashion show into a country fete on Tuesday, with singer Lily Allen bopping along to a barnyard band and models in folk dresses frolicking in the hay.
Pop stars Prince and Rihanna and German model Claudia Schiffer sat amid scattered straw in the front row, watching models in white knit and lace dresses and mock garter belts circle a giant barn.
"People talk about ecology all the time," designer Karl Lagerfeld told reporters after the show, which began with a crowing rooster. "I like that, but you have to combine it with sophistication so it doesn't become a pretext for letting yourself go and abandoning physical discipline."
A haystack rose up in the middle of the show at the glass-domed Grand Palais to reveal Allen with a motley crew of dancing models and hillbilly musicians.
Wearing silver ears of wheat in her hair, Allen praised the colorful mix but also evoked the other big theme at this Paris fashion week: economic crisis.
"Its all about balance, especially in these economic times," she told reporters.
High-waisted dirndl dresses promised a rustic spring/summer 2010. Slitted skirts and dresses with white-draped tops and transparent black skirts continued the lingerie theme that has featured heavily at this season's shows.
The final model, dressed as a bride as is tradition in Paris fashion, pushed her groom into the hay where they were joined by a third model for a countryside romp.
"We had little pigs that we were going to bring into the hall, but they were so smelly we didn't dare to let them out," Lagerfeld said.
Editing by Paul Casciato