Chanel's Lagerfeld demonstrates mastery of classics

Tue Jan 25, 2011 2:27pm EST
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By Nick Vinocur

PARIS (Reuters Life!) - Karl Lagerfeld may have a lifetime contract with Chanel, but the high priest of Parisian chic demonstrated at his haute couture show Tuesday that he won't easily be knocked from his perch by any young upstart.

Facing off this year against fresh talent like Maxime Simoens, who presents his first couture show Wednesday, Lagerfeld gave his spring-summer collection a resolutely modern feel with light-hearted designs and a pulsing, electro beat.

At the intimate show in central Paris, slender models paced the showroom wearing classic Chanel pieces like the flared suit jacket, updated with a tapered jean or funky, flat shoes that seem to have been inspired by Moroccan "babouches."

The parade of pale pinks, glinting sequins and rich embroidery lasted for nearly an hour and ended with an eruption of applause when the final model, wearing the traditional Chanel wedding gown, completed her round of the catwalk.

Stars gushed over the collection, rushing to congratulate Lagerfeld after the show.

"It was so beautiful, I nearly cried," said Spanish director Pedro Almodovar.

"I absolutely loved it, especially the skinny jeans and flat shoes," cooed model and actress Jerry Hall.

Lagerfeld, in his trademark white ponytail and white collar, appeared in front of a mirror-paneled staircase at the back of the room, surrounded by dozens of pink-clad models.   Continued...

<p>German designer Karl Lagerfeld (3rd R) poses with models at the end of his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2011 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel in Paris January 25, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>