Givenchy flies high as Lagerfeld is absent at Chanel couture

  • In World
  • 2019-01-22 21:47:31Z
  • By Associated Press

PARIS (AP) - It's snowing in Paris, but not at Chanel, which showcased 18th-century-inspired couture that frothed inside a sunlit Italian villa.

For once, Karl Lagerfeld didn't take his usual bow - the house said because the octogenarian designer was fatigued.

Some highlights of the spring-summer 2019 couture collections on Tuesday, including how Clare Waight Keller proved she's a rare creative force with a sublime display at Givenchy:


Could it be the best couture show of the season so far?

British designer Waight Keller, who had until 2017 never touched couture, produced a jaw-dropping collection on Tuesday evening in the Palais de Tokyo that demonstrated a surprising mastery.

To moving operatic arias by Maria Callas, diverse designs dipped into fresh creative explorations - all from the base-note of black.

Black latex leggings shimmered like an oil-slick to begin the collection and introduce a textural contrast against an elderberry-colored architectural bar jacket with one single white lapel. It looked like a bolt of lightning.

If a bolt of lightning was meant as a visual metaphor for the 42-piece collection, it was fitting.

Waight Keller's couture danced from the delicate white feathers on a pearly strong-shouldered bustier to the humor of a black couture rucksack with batwing ruffles.

The artistry of a multicolor-fringe clown-like creation with a Maleficent ruff led on to the imagination of a black embellished "jelly fish" dress with cinched waist and pink tulle skirt that spilled ribbons like tentacles.

Some editors have pointed out that the woman who worked for Chloe from 2011-2017 to make salable but ultimately forgettable designs seems to be a completely different person to the one we see today at Givenchy.

It's the beginning of something special in Paris fashion.


Chanel's designer Lagerfeld, who has looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, did not come out to take a bow at the house's couture collections in Paris because he was "tired."

In his place, his longtime studio director Virginie Viard appeared through a door in the lavish Italian villa decor that had been painstakingly created by the house.

It immediately prompted surprise and visible sadness from many fashion editors attending the show at the Grand Palais.

At the end of the first show at 10 a.m., an announcement explained the designer would appear for the noon presentation. But come noon, the German-born couturier was absent again.

It's the first time in recent memory that Lagerfeld, who has designed for the Parisian stalwart since 1983 and was a contemporary of the late Yves Saint Laurent, has not been physically present to receive applause at the end of a show.

In a statement, Chanel said "for the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr. Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired" asked Viard "to represent him" - without providing any further details.


A gentle geometry defined Chanel's summer silhouette on Tuesday - one that riffed on the decor's impressive architecture. The set this season featured a shimmering Italian Chanel villa center-stage, with steps that led the gaze down to myriad real palm trees, grass and a rectangular pool.

Shivering and dripping guests were momentarily transported away from Paris' subzero temperatures and snow to enjoy a moment of summer bliss, and the clothes' pastel hues glistened in floodlights evoking warm sunshine.

Slits in the skirt and long vertical lines in the center of the body were a central theme in this season's feminine 62-look collection.

A silvery skirt-suit, a house signature, opened the show with a slit running down the leg to the season's new shoe: a backless pointed heel with a full-fronted panel.

Regal full-skirts that caught director Sofia Coppola's eye fared less well as the display progressed, with the weight of the tiered silk fabric making the designs look somewhat limp.

The slit also morphed into an exploration of unfurling styles in some jackets that seemed to open up like the scented flowers in the villa's verdant gardens.

But there a pernicious feeling that this show lacked some artistic direction.


"Marie Antoinette" director Coppola was among VIP guests invited to admire Villa Chanel's 18th-century full skirted designs.

"I did think of Marie Antoinette when I saw the pink dresses at the end. They were beautiful," she told AP.

"(It evoked) a bygone era to see the dresses with the feathers up close," she added.

Coppola, who won the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, has come a long way since she first forged ties with the Parisian house as a nervous teenage intern.

Bond girl Carole Bouquet had helped the young Coppola find the stint.

"I was really intimidated ... It was thrilling to be 15 in Paris in the '80s at Chanel," she said. "It was during the couture, so it was incredible seeing it being made."


There is something timeless about Giorgio Armani's couture.

The timelessness is not just apparent in the eternal elegance of his styles, which on Tuesday showed off the fashion icon's famed cutting skills through tailored jackets. (Armani cut his teeth in menswear tailoring).

But it's also apparent in the way the couturier evokes an imagined reality. The Armani Prive collections thus throw to the wind any real interest in evoking a spring-summer season, for instance, or a trend or any up-to-the-minute fad.

At the second of Tuesday's double-shows, alongside Chanel, Armani Prive showcased a series of archetypically couture looks in the exclusive Hotel d'Evreux in the Place Vendome that made statements of their own with shimmer and bold color.

Billowing silken Asian-style pants shimmered below tops that contrasted in their color or texture - in checks, sequins or paillettes.

The designs could have featured in any of the designers shows of the last few years without looking out of place.

But as Yves Saint Laurent once said, "fashions come and go, style is eternal."


French designer Alexis Mabille's signature bow made a recurrent appearance in varying sizes, styles and colors at his demure couture display Tuesday.

It began as a front detail on a truncated, shoulder-less little black dress.

Then, the mischievous item cropped up as a cinched belt on a coral red gown or a long pink satin one with divergent stripes.

Going retro, the bow was conjured up as a '70s jabot collar on a Farrah Fawcett-like blue silk column dress.

But the piece de resistance was the detail's cameo as an oversized bust detailing, giving the feeling that the model in a red tulle gown could be unwrapped.

Other great ideas in the 45-piece display included a look that used swathes of bright yellow ruffled silk to cocoon its wearer.

It was, however, the versatile bow that stole the show.


Thomas Adamson can be followed at


More Related News

Yellow vest anger burns in France, fueled by Notre Dame fire
Yellow vest anger burns in France, fueled by Notre Dame fire

French yellow vest protesters set fires Saturday along a march through Paris to drive home their message to a government they believe is ignoring the poor: that rebuilding the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral isn't the only problem France needs to solve. Police fired water cannon and sprayed tear gas to try to control radical elements rampaging on the margins of the largely peaceful march, one of several actions around Paris and other French cities. The protests marked the 23rd straight weekend of yellow vest actions against Macron's centrist government, which they see as favoring the wealthy and big business.

Police arrest
Police arrest 'yellow vest' demonstrators as clashes break out

French police said they arrested more than 100 "yellow vest" demonstrators in Paris on Saturday as clashes broke out with protestors taking to the streets for a 23rd week of anti-government marches. AFP journalists reported scuffles between police and protesters in the afternoon, after hours of calm, as police used anti-riot grenades and tear gas to disperse marchers in the centre of the French capital. Some protesters threw bottles and other objects at police and set fire to vehicles, safety barriers and bins.

France's 'yellow vest' protesters banned from Notre-Dame: police

For their 23rd consecutive Saturday protest, France's yellow vests have been told they will be banned from the area around Paris's fire-damaged Notre-Dame cathedral. The ban will be in place all day Saturday, a police statement said, following Monday's devastating fire at the world famous landmark. "No protest demonstration can be held" in the area due to the fragility of the building, the statement said.

Police official: Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire
Police official: Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire

PARIS (AP) - Paris police investigators think an electrical short-circuit most likely caused the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral, a police official said Thursday as France paid a daylong tribute to the firefighters who saved the world-renowned landmark.

Notre-Dame: 'Assassin's Creed Unity' free for a week

With its detailed historical recreation of Paris's grand and recently damaged cathedral, Notre-Dame, "Assassin's Creed Unity" is free for a week and its publisher is committing €500,000 (US$562,400) to reconstruction efforts. Headquartered just outside of Paris, French video game publisher and studio network Ubisoft is responding to April 15's Notre-Dame fire by pledging a sum of half a million euros (US$562k) to the proposed reconstruction of the cultural and religious building, while giving away "Assassin's Creed Unity" on PC until April 25, 2019. The 2014 video game, eighth in a now 12-year-old franchise, was set during the 1790s, during which time the French Revolution took place.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: World

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.