January 24, 2006

New stars and Chanel faithful shiver at Paris show

By Anna Willard

PARIS (Reuters) - Victoria Beckham and Bernadette Chirac
shivered together on Tuesday at Chanel's spring-summer haute
couture show in an unheated glass-domed hall where each guest
was given a flask of tea and blanket to keep warm.

New stars and faithful older clients sank into their fur
coats around a circular white stage in the vast glass and steel
Grand Palais to be treated to a collection of Karl Lagerfeld's
outfits for the iconic label.

A classic white tweed suit opened the show, followed by
dresses finished with boleros, ruffles and feathers and evening
gowns shimmering with sequins.

Models wore flowers and feathers in their hair and circled
around a tower at the center of the stage in the recently
renovated Palais, built for the 1900 World's Fair near the
elegant Champs Elysees avenue in central Paris.

"I was going toward lightness...something more free,"
Lagerfeld said after the show.

Beckham, wife of footballer David and a former Spice Girl,
was mobbed by photographers.

Dressed in a short black dress and high heels, she told
Lagerfeld: "It was wonderful."

Beckham was joined in the audience by Canadian singer Avril
Lavigne and Rolling Stone Mick Jagger's American girlfriend
L'Wren Scott.

Chanel shows also attract clients who have been faithful to
the brand for years, many of whom come wearing vintage items.

President Jacques Chirac's wife sat alongside the wives of
other French politicians and businessmen.

Model Lily Cole closed out Lagerfeld's show in a short baby
doll wedding dress with an enormous sequined train. A white
tower in the center of the stage rose to reveal a spiral
staircase on which the other models stood.

White was also a theme at Valentino's show on Monday
evening where the girls stepped on to the catwalk from behind a
sand dune in front of a brilliant sun in a constantly changing

"They have this lightness and for the first time I did a
white collection that transforms into powdery colors with only
a single red," the Italian designer said afterwards.

Guests were treated to ruffles and sparkles and glamorous
gowns fit for nights at the Oscars. A pearl gray and gold
organza dress was matched with an organza bolero with balloon
sleeves and an embroidered tulle blouse was worn over an ivory
crepe strapless creation.

"There were all the dresses you need for the red carpet,"
Valentino said.