Day two: Couture Fashion Week

Spring couture: Chanel, Givenchy and Lacroix

When Karl Lagerfeld references the recession in a fashion collection, you know you have a trend on your hands.

At yesterday’s Chanel couture show in Paris, Mr Lagerfeld ditched the bling for the far more wallet-friendly paper, adorning not only his models’ heads and garments with intricate white origami creations, but garnishing the tables, pillars and stairs of the Grand Palais in montages of giant paper camellias.

SEE THE FULL CATWALK SHOW HERE

The catwalk was, in fact, a whitewash, a reference to Coco’s favourite shade, with the odd flash of black.

This may be Chanel for the credit crunch, but the classics were still all in place: the cardigan suit reinterpreted in silk and tweed, with A-line silhouettes and cropped jackets.

And detailing was subtly intricate – look closely and those architectural evening gowns shimmered with thousands of sequins and layers of chiffon strips and capes dripped with intricate beadwork.

Dubbing the collection ‘reality fashion‘, Lagerfeld told The Telegraph, ‘We talk about the financial crisis, but it is also healthy. People who have been making 20% increase, year after year, and then are not making 20% any more, they are not poor. So don’t cry for them. We have got into bad habits and it is not a bad thing to have a new starting point.’

The mood wasn’t so restrained at Christian Lacroix, where minimalism gave way to an excess of colour, print, stripes and heavy and eclectic adornment.

While Lagerfeld ditched the gems, Lacroix embraced them to the excess. Jewellery was stacked, with mismatched cuffs in lacquer and crystal, multiple strands of shimmering necklaces and drop chandelier earrings glimmered.

Over at Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci juxtaposed his ultra-feminine designs with a harder edge. Look beneath the feathery chiffon layers, and the merest hint of patent leather harnesses and chains poked from the folds.

Ice cream pastel gowns in lemon and violet were held back from simple classicism by the addition of studded bondage strips and bodycon Lycra underlays.

The collection could be seen as an extension of the dark gothic mood that has characterised Tisci’s tenure at Givenchy, albeit with a candy-coloured palette, that allowed it to become a mysterious subconscience to this accomplished collection.

SEE THE FULL GIVENCHY COLLECTION HERE

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