Chanel's Lagerfeld takes Paris fashion on a walk in the woods

Karl Lagerfeld turned down the bling meter at Chanel with a Paris fashion week show that reflected the restrained glamour of the spectacular mid-winter forest in which it was set. The 84-year-old creator, who has kept his controversial white beard, sent out a dark and classy collection Tuesday that eschewed that bubblegum girliness of Chanel's haute couture show in January.

The only pinks and electric blues he allowed to seep into the show were the very Audrey Hepburn leather opera gloves that were worn with a series of black lace slip dresses. The veteran German creator turned the Grand Palais into a wood, with tonnes of dead leaves strewn on mirrored steps and nine huge mossy trees lining its vast nave.

With his wispy beard that so divided opinion in January fuller now, the "Kaiser" took one of the briefest bows of his career after the show, allowing photographers little chance to check its progress.  Some critics had then found it shockingly "scruffy" for the world's pre-eminent style guru, who had not changed his look in two decades.

Lagerfeld began with a run of full-length black coats matched with sparkling gold tights, one coat feathered at the shoulders and cuffs which gave it more than a hint of French Empire dash.

- Burnished gold -

Earthy, autumnal colours dominated, lit up with the glint of embroidered crystals and glitter, as he ran through the gamut of Chanel's classic tweedy looks -- city slickers bringing a touch of ever-so-tasteful glamour to the horsey country set.

The whole top of one particularly striking coat with burnt orange velvet collars and cuffs was covered in a fall of delicate applique dark green and burnished gold leaves. This was not the gold of the nouveau riche but the distressed sheen of old money.

The veteran picked up and ran with its mottled glow in a line of darkly burnished gold and copper boots, suits and skirts.

Front-row stars, who included Hollywood actress Keira Knightley, British singer Lily Allen, former French first lady Carla Bruni Sarkozy and French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis also drooled over Lagerfeld's new bigs bags and accessories. They included a "log" handbag so close to the real think you might risk losing it in the woods.

Chanel's trademark long, pearl necklaces also made a reappearance in the show, whose models included Cindy Crawford's 16-year-old daughter Kaia Gerber, South Korean star Hoyeon Jung and British model activist Adwoa Aboah. 


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