Feb 29, 2008
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Chanel's merry-go-round, Castelbajac's funky fun

Feb 29, 2008

PARIS, Feb 29, 2008 (AFP) - A giant merry-go-round occupied centre stage at the Chanel ready-to-wear show on Friday february 29th, but instead of horses there were enormous versions of the house's iconic camelia, quilted handbag, ropes of pearls and earrings with the double-C logo.

Models even got a ride on them when Karl Lagerfeld came out to take his bow at the end as it slowly revolved.

Lagerfeld's reinvention of the Chanel classics for next autumn-winter were no less inventive than the setting in the Grand Palais exhibition hall.

It was a tongue-in-cheek return to grunge for the signature tweeds. He sent out skirts suits with jackets deliberately frayed at the elbow, their braiding unravelling and with the loose weave of the fabric coming apart.

How could he justify such wanton destruction? Lagerfeld defended himself after the show: "When you buy clothes which are very expensive, you shouldn't treat them as if they had cost a lot. You should be able to destroy them like a pair of cheap jeans."

Chanel tweeds cost a fortune because they are entirely hand-made: "I enjoyed treating them as if they weren't expensive."

Silhouettes were elongated, like a plaid maxi with a roll-necked lacy wool jumper, and a belted jacket in graphic black and white tweed which flared from the waist over a slim midi skirt. A matt black quilted satin cocktail outfit had the same contour.

Another novelty were long evening capes with nothing at all in front, which just floated out behind, with dipping hemlines like tailcoats.

Lagerfeld called them "lassos". "Over short dresses it gives a nice proportion, it looks pretty when a girl walks."

Models wore their hair long and loose under black berets with pearl or rhinestone badges and carried dinky round clutch bags barely the size of their hands.

The shiny yellow and black "smiley" badges pinned to many outfits at Jean-Charles de Castelbajac's show reflected the designer's buoyant, optimistic approach to fashion.

As usual it was full of bright primary colours from the opening sequence of giant white polka dots on scarlet, with models clutching matching teddy bears and bags.

It was back to school with blazers, jackets and leggings covered in badge motifs, Rubik's cubes printed on skirts and monochrome stars and stripes on the back of jeans and accessories like fake-fur boxing gloves in day-glo shades.

Funky satin T-shirt dresses had front and back emblazoned in sequins with motifs like a black and white panda and a skeleton or slogans like "Come as you are" and "Smells like Teen Spirit".

At the end of the show all the girls came out bopping to Cyndi Lauper's 1980s smash hit "Girls just want to have fun" - which just about summed it up.

by Sarah Shard

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