Chanel's Lagerfeld goes for glitter in couture

Tue Jul 6, 2010 6:42pm EDT
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By Nina Sovich

PARIS (Reuters) - Under the glass roof of Paris's Palais Royal, fashion house Chanel roared to life on Tuesday with a glitzy show of haute couture that hinted at the spectacle and opulence of Romanov Russia.

Moving far away from signature Chanel black wool jackets, white trim and pearls, designer Karl Lagerfeld embraced sequins and baubles in a series of to-the-knee haute couture dresses that seemed defiantly spectacular amid the economic crisis.

Several suits sported gold brocade, intricate embroidery and fur lining. The colors -- earth tones and deep reds -- were warm and hinted at the darkened corridors of a Byzantine church or 18th century tapestry.

Models paraded under and around a 15 meter (45 foot) high lion -- an ode, the designer said, to the astrological sign of the house's eponymous founder, Coco Chanel.

Despite the opulence, the designer said that the show strove for simplicity, noting that none of the dresses were floor length, a traditional offering of haute couture.

"Everything has been removed...we had to strip a little but without making it dry, minimalist, false or pretentious," he said to reporters after the show.

Lagerfeld, who is roughly 75 years old and shows no sign of retiring, has turned Chanel into the power house of French haute couture.

Even as some haute couture designers like Christian Lacroix close their doors under the crushing expense of making dresses by hand for a clientele that may number no more than 300, Chanel has grown his couture collection.   Continued...

<p>Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2010-2011 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel in Paris July 6, 2010. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier</p>