#1335 Chanel’s living lions

Including fashion celebrities (Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Natalia Vodianova, Carine Roitfeld et al), the fame count at Chanel this evening was high – Jessica Alba, Gossip Girls Blake Lively and Leighton Meester and supermodel-cum-actress Milla Jovovich all turned up for the show. Adding to the glamour-factor was the location – Grand Palais, the most spectacular, gargantuan, glass-domed building in Paris. Oh, and that strategically placed golden lion in the centre of the circular catwalk didn’t hurt. Spanning 30 metres wide and five metres tall, the lion stood guarding a single pearl (about 25 times the size of a soccer ball). Needless to say, excitement levels were extreme. Another extreme – the temperature. Despite an 8:00pm start time, the sun continued to blaze through the glass roof, scorching everyone beneath.

The room was abuzz with action. Pap photographers shooting the stars, security guards attempting to direct the flow of traffic, friends running from section to section waving hellos and blowing kisses. Then there were the non-professional point-and-shooters – Purple Magazine’s Olivier Zahm snapping Carine Roitfeld, Suzy Menkes snapping Leighton Meester, Bryan Boy snapping Suzy Menkes snapping Leighton Meester.

I was seated in the seventh row, but due to the tiered bleachers and my placement directly behind Anna Wintour, the view was remarkably good. Natasha Poly opened in a blood red skirt-suit with slouchy leather boots crushed like gold leaf. Killer conservative.

The first section was heavy on coats in tweeds, boucles and wool felts. Full pleated skirts sashayed beneath cropped jackets, while fur cuffed three-quarter length coat dresses suggested an opulently Russian element-barrier. The second featured elaborate day-wear – quilted, nude and white dresses; and vibrantly floral short-sleeved jackets over dark calf-length skirts. But the finale, evening-wear, reigned supreme – colourful, brightly patterned and sparkling in the natural light. The dresses came decorated with cheeky zig-zags, diamonds and stripes and garden flowers. They reminded me of precious Fabergé Eggs (though with far-more attractive treasures beneath).

When it was finished, Karl Lagerfeld’s male-muse Baptiste Giabiconi accompanied the bride onto the catwalk, wearing a lion’s head all of his own. This drew great cheers from the crowd but they were quickly drowned out by the applause for the designer himself as he took to the stage. Lagerfeld is still King of the fashion jungle. They don’t call him Kaiser Karl for nothing.


Runway shots: style.com

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