22 January 2013 by

Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week: Susannah Frankel's Report On Chanel's Spring 2013 Show

“It was beautiful, no?” Karl Lagerfeld said following his haute couture show at the Grand Palais in Paris today. And it certainly was that. “The idea of a German, romantic neo-classical thing, a Greek theatre in a romantic forest…” he continued, neatly summing up an unashamedly ethereal mood. “I saw it in my dream, made a sketch, and then handed it over. People have to make those things. Dress-making is a job. And it worked.”

More than any other name in Paris, Chanel excels where haute couture is concerned and that is due both to the magnificent mind and imagination of the man behind it and to the petites mains who staff this most esteemed atelier. Chanel has 200 seamstresses positively dwarfing much of the competition and they understand their creative director, who has now been at the house for thirty years, very well.

All of this translated into the lightest and most lovely clothes. The Chanel boucle wool suit came in a short, youthful silhouette and in pale and interesting colours as well as Chanel’s beloved black and white. The little black dress was equally streamlined: it was especially sweet with a tulip skirt. Rainbow coloured camellias – Coco’s favourite flower – were embroidered from neckline to hem across slender gowns. “It takes 2,000 hours to make just one of those dresses,” said Karl. “I don’t know how they have the patience.”

Or the skill. If in the wrong hands, haute couture may be overloaded to the point where it looks like costume, at Chanel lightness is all. And so a lilac puff of chiffon with a fluttering train floated across the sandy floor like a cloud.

“It’s easy to wear. It’s very light,” Karl confirmed. “I hate clothes that are stiff and heavy, clothes that people cannot wear. This is very much the opposite. It had to be weightless.

Add to the mix thigh-high, peep-toed boots and evening gloves in the finest lace and not one but two brides with an ultra-cute couture clad page boy in tow and the end result was indeed the stuff that dreams are made of. A magical moment courtesy of the world’s greatest couturier.


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