Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld Andreas Rentz- Getty Images

Chanel wows Paris's high fliers

KARL Lagerfeld transformed the interior of Paris's Grand Palais into a private jet for the spring/summer 2012 Chanel haute couture show on Monday.

Perhaps he felt it would make the handful of clients wealthy enough to invest tens of thousands of pounds in a single, hand-worked garment feel at home.

Certainly, Chanel besuited guests appeared delighted as they walked through the metal walkway and circular lounge to their airline seats.

Drinks were served from silver trolleys, all beneath a blue sky projection scattered with clouds.

As befitted the retro-futurism of the setting, the first looks out were inspired by optimistic Space Age fashions.

A youthful silhouette that stood away from the body and a hemline that fell to mid-thigh whispered of the work of AndrE CourrEges, while balloon sleeves and tulip skirts also referenced 20th-century haute couture, although with a modern touch.

Among the last of the great, traditionally trained couturiers still working in contemporary fashion - the other is Jean Paul Gaultier, who showed yesterday- Lagerfeld knows how to employ the skills of the petites mains who staff the Paris ateliers responsible for haute couture's execution like no other.

The Chanel suit came this time around in all the beautiful shades of blue - powder, petrol and, of course, chic French navy - shot through with a touch of sparkle or trimmed with iridescent jewelled brocades and degrading into a mere wisp of chiffon.

Cocktail dresses were finished with tiny silver-coated feathers or silk petals that fluttered prettily when models walked. Opalescent camellias - famously Coco Chanel's favourite flower and now a symbol of the house she founded - decorated necklines.

Should madam prefer a more demure skirt length, that was there too.

At the end of the show, Lagerfeld emerged, as if by magic, from the pilot's cockpit to take his bows safe in the knowledge that there was much to please the Chanel haute couture customer on display this season and indeed to tempt a new client into the fold.