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Paris haute couture: Chanel gives the world eco-couture

Karl Lagerfeld’s garden-inspired collection is couture magic with a hint of reality

AP
10:09 January 27, 2016
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A relaxed Gwyneth Paltrow looked very much the part as she arrived at Chanel’s “atmosphere of calm” eco-show inside Paris’ Grand Palais.

Here are the highlights of Tuesday’s spring-summer 2016 celebrity-filled couture collections.

 

Chanel

Couture is not the industry most readily associated with ecology. But if it’s up to Lagerfeld, whose latest passion is the garden, things may well be about to change.

Aside from the show decor, all the jewellery and embroideries in the 75 Chanel looks were made from wood shavings, paper and straw.

They were, of course, given a Chanel-style makeover: fastidiously painted, treated and moulded by the atelier into exquisite shapes and paillettes that resembled white feathers and flower petals.

“Ecology is something that’s never been used in high luxury before,” explained the couturier.

And at one point, it seemed the eccentric fashion icon didn’t quite understand the concept of ecology.

“Bees are an endangered species, I so took a load of them and stuck them on the dresses,” he quipped, referring to what one press attache clarified as being bee-style embroideries.

He also didn’t miss the opportunity to distance himself from the wider eco-fight, pointing out that this display is a first, as most eco-fighters “don’t take care of their appearance.”

It was delicate couture magic with a hint of reality for Chanel.

The sports-infused display saw sparkling smooth oval shoulders and curved collars define the silhouette on fastidiously embroidered gowns and skirt suits.

This curved aesthetic — apparent also in oversized bulbous chignons, curved cork platforms and unusual double-eye make-up — was inspired by the 1932 cubist sculpture Head of a Woman by Pablo Picasso.

But this was very much a contemporary collection at times — with assorted iPhone pockets hanging loosely from the models’ waists.

The evening wear got somewhat more enchanted — with strapless dresses or pants with a train complemented by painted capes with rhinestones, wide-cut boleros or embroidered jackets.

There were fairy-like touches — like a pale pink silk gown, with Tinkerbell-like zigzags cut into a tiered skirt and large diaphanous cuffs.

A glimmering cape in lame and chiffon on model-of-the-minute Gigi Hadid also added to the magical vibe.

A huge “mood” garden decor — replete with a relaxation pond, forest and grass — greeted the 43-year-old Oscar-winner Paltrow, who posed for cameras in a check Chanel skirt suit with high collar near some steps leading up to a minimalist wooden hut.

It was so realistic there was even a small swarm of flies buzzing around on the verdant lawn.

Paltrow, who curates healthy lifestyle publication Goop, looked around in awe, clearly approving of the Chanel designer’s newfound green musing.

Other celebrity attendees included actresses Monica Bellucci.

 

Bouchra Jarrar

It was the masculine versus the feminine for lauded designer Bouchra Jarrar.

She presented a short but sweet collection on Tuesday afternoon that featured a recurring silhouette that unfurled at the chest organically.

Multiple-layered flying jackets with billowing lapels came on myriad looks of which the masculine edge was softened with panels of luxuriant fur.

Military jackets and military bell-bottomed pants — similarly — were matched with delicate materials, such as an ivory lace see-through top.

The best looks were the simplest.

A diaphanous draped silk gown was twinned with “don’t mess with me” military stomper boots. It was, needless to say, very sexy.

 

Stephane Rolland

It was the most archetypical “couture” show yet from Parisian designer purist Stephane Rolland.

Models held numbered cards — as they did in the era of the late Christian Dior — in uber-feminine designs that aimed to evoke “a star of the Garnier Opera House” in Paris.

Huge pleated skirts and ruffles exploded from the waist in a series of dramatic, sculptural silk ball gowns.

Elsewhere, there were welcome traces of the somewhat space-age style that has marked Rolland’s previous seasons, such as a white sheath dress with silicon feathers on a stole sliding down a shoulder, caressing a sensual horizontal slip at the thigh.