Chanel aims high with starry ‘Eif­fel Tower’ Paris show

The Hamilton Spectator - - STYLE - THOMAS ADAM­SON

PARIS — The ever-au­da­cious Karl Lager­feld proved he is still nim­ble when it comes to putting on a fash­ion show.

The 83-year-old had a 46-ton Eif­fel Tower recre­ated in­side the Grand Palais for the plea­sure of his Chanel cou­ture celebrity guests. Paris Mayor Anne Hi­dalgo re­turned the love by pre­sent­ing him with the city’s high­est hon­our — the “La Medaille Grand Ver­meil” — at the fall-win­ter 2017 shows Tues­day at Paris Haute Cou­ture Week.

The Ger­man-born Lager­feld was given the award for ser­vice to the city he’s called home for seven decades, be­neath the Eif­fel Tower replica.

“Paris gives you its thanks and its love through this Grand Sil­ver Gilt medal ... which is our city’s high­est award,” Hi­dalgo said in front of a celebrity au­di­ence, in­clud­ing mod­els Clau­dia Schif­fer and Cara Delev­ingne. “From the bot­tom of our hearts, thank you. Paris loves you. You are Paris.”

Lager­feld, a con­tem­po­rary of the late fash­ion icon Yves Saint Lau­rent, has been at the fore­front of Paris fash­ion since the 1960s, de­sign­ing for Chloé be­fore tak­ing over Chanel in 1983. Al­though he doesn’t see him­self as French, the de­signer pro­fessed his love for the City of Light. “I am a for­eigner and I in­tend to stay a for­eigner be­cause for­eign­ers see Paris and France through a dif­fer­ent eye,” he said, ac­cept­ing the award. “And when you are not French, you look with­out na­tion­al­ism or pa­tri­o­tism ... Long live Paris.”

The wood-and-steel tower, which took work­ers six weeks to make, was a stun­ning piece of crafts­man­ship. It copied nearly beam for beam the col­umns and metal twists of the ed­i­fice made by Gus­tave Eif­fel for the 1889 Uni­ver­sal Ex­hi­bi­tion.

Other high­lights:

Chanel goes turn-of-the-cen­tury

The dawn of the 20th cen­tury — the pe­riod fol­low­ing the Eif­fel Tower’s con­struc­tion — was the cre­ative touch­stone for Chanel’s win­tery­look­ing cou­ture.

The first model strode out in sun­light fil­tered by wrought-iron col­umns to set the tone of the graphic, steel-coloured col­lec­tion. She wore a wide-hipped, char­coal grey coat with ex­ag­ger­ated leg-of-mut­ton arms — styles that hear­kened to the Belle Époque pe­riod.

This clever his­toric mus­ing con­tin­ued with flat­tened bowler hats and black patent lace-up an­kle boots pop­u­lar be­fore the First World War. Flour­ish­ing bou­quets of plumes then shot out from wrists, an­kles and shoul­ders in evening wear.

“In this col­lec­tion, there are feath­ers treated like fur,” Lager­feld ex­plained.

But the de­signer re­lied on myr­iad ref­er­ences for a show whose one uni­fy­ing theme might have been sim­ply the Parisi­enne. “It’s a vi­sion of a re­vived Parisian woman. It is all about cut, shapes, sil­hou­ettes.”

Sig­na­ture tweed jack­ets were reimag­ined as long tu­nics, or cropped and dou­ble-breasted.

Then it got arty. Me­chan­i­cal Art Deco mo­tifs gave a 1920s flair to black frou-frou gowns that evoked the paint­ings of Robert De­lau­nay. Their frothy, flower em­bel­lish­ments at the hem gave the sil­hou­ette a vi­brant dy­namic.

Mini-dresses in tweed, retro bateau col­lars and bows un­der the bust mixed in a dash of the 1960s. Thigh-high boots added a hint of con­tem­po­rary provo­ca­tion.

Gior­gio Ar­mani Privé

Kate Winslet, Is­abelle Hup­pert, Priyanka Cho­pra and Ital­ian cin­ema icon Sophia Loren led the front row at Gior­gio Ar­mani Privé’s de­mure yet play­ful col­lec­tion.

As ever, it was clas­sic glam­our. The leit­mo­tif of small cone hats and sen­sual face veils gave the silken 61piece show a feel for the the­atri­cal­ity of the 1920s.

Large black neck ruffs evoked a har­lequin. And a black cape with fuch­sia flo­ral em­broi­deries was con­ceived by the fash­ion le­gend in gar­gan­tuan pro­por­tions — vis­ually over­pow­er­ing the model’s body.

But Ar­mani’s fall-win­ter cou­ture sil­hou­ette was all about the chest. An open menswear tuxedo jacket with peaked shoul­ders ex­posed the flesh un­der­neath. Else­where, a neck­line on a pale blue top plunged dar­ingly and was given a taste­ful lift with a broach de­tail un­der the bust.

Beau­ti­ful black gowns in or­ganza and satin — with huge full skirts — also ex­posed the shoul­ders and the chest.


From Chanel’s Haute Cou­ture fall-win­ter 2017 fash­ion col­lec­tion pre­sented at the Grand Palais in Paris.


From the Gior­gio Ar­mani Privé Haute Cou­ture fall-win­ter 2017 show as part of Haute Cou­ture Paris Fash­ion Week.





Paris Mayor Anne Hi­dalgo with fash­ion de­signer Karl Lager­feld af­ter pre­sent­ing him with the Grand Ver­meil medal.

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