Chanel slams "bling-bling" in haute couture show

Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:02pm EST
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By Sophie Hardach

PARIS (Reuters) - Chanel prescribed boxy white jackets and white wool skirts as a cure for boomtime excesses at its haute couture show on Tuesday, calling for a new asceticism in a ballroom crammed with celebrities and wealthy clients.

While Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld said it was time for a big cleanse after years of indulgence, rival couturier Christian Lacroix preferred to ignore the economic crisis with a fairytale display of frothy tulle dresses and embroidered taffeta coats.

"We had too much stuff, too much red carpet, too much bling-bling, too much of everything, and it was like having an upset stomach from eating too many good things," Lagerfeld said about the bubble years that preceded the downturn.

"So then you have to have a big cleanse. It's a refined purge," he told Reuters after the show, wearing a sharp black suit, sunglasses and his trademark studded leather gloves.

Taking his inspiration from a blank page, Lagerfeld dressed models in knee-length skirts, bolero jackets and tailored dresses cinched by shiny black belts, in a play on Coco Chanel's classic wool suit.

But there was still plenty of bling-bling in the shape of fantastical white head-dresses, black and white glitter and rhinestones, to the delight of Lagerfeld's Hollywood fans.

"I think in different periods in the world, fantasy is always really important. It's good to get lost in that fantasy for a minute or two," said actress Keira Knightley, seated at one of the little white tables that dotted the ballroom.

Her own fashion formula was more simple.   Continued...

<p>A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Spring-Summer Haute Couture 2009 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel in Paris January 27, 2009. REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen</p>