Couture Fashion Week: Chanel’s Sixties chic and Givenchy’s dark side

Alexa Chung and Claudia Schiffer prop up the front row at Chanel while Riccardo Tisci's in a macabre mood at Givenchy

With its dizzying price tags, couture fashion has always, will always, suffer from cries of elitism, but if ever there were justification for those sky-high prices, Chanel delivered it yesterday.

One outfit, an ice-blue shift dress and matching jacket, had been covered in 13,000 hand-cut and stitched satin flowers, while another – a chiffon-rosette-embossed pale pink satin gown – took over 700 hours to delicately piece together. The futuristic, silver platform shoes worn by many of the models required 30 hours of workmanship per pair, while the finale dress, a stunning bridal gown, reportedly took one of the couture ateliers employed by Chanel 1,300 hours of handiwork.

With the newly engaged Lara Stone on the runway, there was plenty of speculation about whether she’d be chosen to model the aforementioned wedding dress at the end of show, but designer Karl Lagerfeld is never one for the obvious, choosing instead to dress the model de jour in a Sixties-style mini, covered in frou-frou confections of chiffon rosettes (mind you, we could definitely see Walliams in the silver leather groom’s outfit).

 Chanel Couture Spring/Summer 2010, Haute Couture Fashion Week Paris

Serious fashion commentators, of course, couldn’t give a hoot about the private lives of the models on the runway (just us then), entranced as they were by the silver-and-pastel palette on display.

‘It’s the first time in my whole career I’ve done a collection without black or navy. There’s not one gold button,’ Lagerfeld admitted to Style.com. Whatever you do, however, don’t accuse him of choosing a ‘futuristic’ theme. The journalist backstage who offered up that idea can expect a standing-room-only ticket next season. ‘I hate that,’ snapped Lagerfeld. ‘I don’t believe in avant-garde clothes for a future that will never happen. Fashion is always now.’

 Chanel Couture Spring/Summer 2010, Haute Couture Fashion Week Paris

If Chanel was all sweetness and light (the clothes at least, if not the designer), Givenchy was quite the opposite with a macabre, sultry mood permeating each and every outfit.

Dip-dyed ostrich feathers poked out from under vampy tuxedos, Lara Stone swapped her pink ribbon bows for over-the-knee suede boots and even the designer, Riccardo Tisci, took his applause wearing black.

The design house may not have had the celeb contingent in the front row that Chanel had, where Alexa Chung, Kanye West and Claudia Schiffer were all in attendence, but there’s more than a few rock chicks who’ll want to plunder this collection for their next video.

SEE THE CHANEL SHOW HERE

SEE THE GIVENCHY SHOW HERE

SEE THE LATEST FRONT-ROW PHOTOS HERE

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