Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel extravaganza, Sarah Burton's debut at McQueen and a loyal - yet modern - take on Valentino. Here are the highlights from the penultimate day of Paris Fashion Week.
What a show: Karl Lagerfeld never ceases to amaze and for spring, he delivered quite the spectacle at the Chanel show: an 80-piece orchestra, a surrealist monochrome garden setting, complete with fountains, in the Grand Palais (inspired by the film Last Year at Marienbad, for which Coco Chanel designed the costumes) and over 80 models. Come next season, the Chanel girl - including front rowers Alexa Chung, Lily Allen, Clémence Poésy, Vanessa Paradis, Keira Knightley, Rachel Bilson, Virginie Ledoyen, Claudia Schiffer and Florence Welch - will do distressed for day (unfinished tweeds, jackets with frayed edges, jeans with holes), wear plenty of black and white (with hints of metallic silver and pastels, delicate embroideries and giant florals) and by night, will opt for black lace and plenty of feathers.
Model moment: While we loved the return of Chanel face, Inès de la Fressange, to the Chanel catwalk, a rather younger model stole the show: two-year-old Hunter Kroenig, who walked down the runway with model dad Brad, wearing a mini version of his father's ensemble of Chanel bouclé jacket over denim shirt and jeans. Can we say cutest thing ever? (And please tell us this means Chanel is launching a kids range).
Brilliant debut: Following in the footsteps of the legendary Alexander McQueen is no easy feat. The label's new creative director, Sarah Burton, who worked alongside the designer for 15 years, did a remarkable job paying homage while making the collection her own. Silhouettes that were unmistakeably McQueen (a white tailcoat and trousers) were softened with raw edges, while references to nature gradually enveloped the models (leather leaves, hand-painted butterflies, masses of feathers) and retained the aura of fantasy that was a McQueen signature. See the full collection here.
Viva Valentino: The house of Valentino may be in the hands of Pier Paolo Picciolo and Maria Grazia Chiuri, but Mr Valentino's okay with that. He praised the duo's latest collection, which paid allegiance to him while interpretating afresh: for day, it was cotton shirtdresses and black leather-and-raffia jackets, while evening featured plenty of lace and ruffles in cocktail and maxi-dresses.
New kid of the block: H&M fêted the opening of its three-floor Champs-Élysées flagship, designed by architect Jean Nouvel, with model, actress and brand ambassador Elisa Sedanaoui in tow. You know you've hit the big time when your neighbour is Louis Vuitton.
Happy 40th: The Kenzo label celebrates its 40th anniversary this year and designer Antonio Marras made it a birthday to remember with a catwalk show that was half spring/summer 2011 clothes and half pieces from the label's substantial archive. The future looks bright with woodblock-printed dresses and stunning florals, while the past was an eclectic mix of layers and layers of Kenzo's textures, colours and prints.
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