Chanel goes rustic

PARIS, Sarah Shard - The last place one might expect to find a Chanel girl in all her finery would be rolling around in a hayloft, but Karl Lagerfeld likes springing surprises.
For his spring-summer 2010 collection on Tuesday he erected an authentic lifesize wooden barn emblazoned with a giant Chanel logo under the dome of the Grand Palais. His models tripped out from the inside of a huge haystack onto a straw-strewn catwalk.

Chanel goes rustic
The mood was of carefree abandon, with the girls' hair in unravelling chignons and their summer tweed suits, in shades of pale straw and stone, similarly in loose weave and fraying at the edges.
Ears of corn were embroidered onto unisex black sharp-shouldered jackets, also shown on a male model, and turned into necklaces and fine gilt belts over slim jeans.
Tiny flowers encrusted the hems and necklines of pert black and white dogstooth check sundresses, and big red poppies and blue cornflowers were appliqued on cream, lacy knit cardigans with full, flippy skirts.
On their feet the models wore Lagerfeld's answer to clogs, high-heeled mules, often laced up the leg like Greek sandals, over stockings faintly tatooed with the house logo and handbag chain. A version of the Chanel bag looked like a picnic hamper.
For a rousing finale British pop sensation Lily Allen and her band were beamed up from below stage to sing a number from her latest hit country bash album "it'S not me, it'S you" and Lagerfeld's bride and groom took a tumble in the hay before the master himself emerged to take a bow.
Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who regularly turns his shows into rock gigs, chose live band Ebony Bones to set the ear-splitting tone for his swashbuckling Treasure Island-inspired collection.
A palm fringed beach and thatched hut backdrop conjured up Hawaii or Tahiti, while models weaved in and out of menacing fins on the catwalk, suggesting shark-infested waters.
Castelbajac's saucy shipwrecked sailors wore navy dress uniform loaded down with epaulettes, rope, and gold braiding, and jaunty miniature versions of marines' hats, over grass hula-hula skirts.
True to his love affair with Disney cartoons, Castelbajac turned Donald Duck into a pirate with a black eyepatch, embroidered in colourful sequins onto the front of a satin Tee-shirt dress.
He put his imagined castaway convent girls in tiered white broderie anglaise and knee-high socks with suspenders.
Fake scarlet macaws with glittering beaks perched on shoulders. One looked as if it had been flattened to make the eye-catching feathered front of a black knit dress.
Garish woven raffia dresses in black with red, green, yellow or blue were tongue-in-cheek versions of witchdoctors' masks.
Nautical stripes mingled happily with a parrot print and a doodle of palm trees and natives for casual separates and pareos ideal for the beach.
Castelbajac also came up with a novel way of displaying holiday postcards, in the clear pockets of a coat dress.
At Chloe British designer Hannah McGibbon imagined today's nomadic woman roaming the world in comfortable trousers, shirt and rustic sandals, keeping out the wind with a cape or poncho.
Jumpsuits and shorts with big pockets, coats with leather detailing, were staples in her relaxed wardrobe in shades of white, earth and khaki.

Wednesday, October 7th 2009
Sarah Shard

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