Day 2
Chanel and Armani fly high in couture day 2

THOMAS ADAMSON
The Associated Press
Modified: July 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm •  Published: July 9, 2012
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PARIS — On day two of Paris' haute couture week, Giorgio Armani took fashion on a midnight romance, Stephane Rolland channeled Supergirl-style capes and Chanel got nostalgic for past vintage styles.

It was certainly a diverse collection of creations from A-lines to dropped waists, palettes that were muted or bright, and styles spanning decades.

But Tuesday's shows had one key thing in common: imagination.

"Haute couture will exist as long as people want to dream," Didier Grumbach told The Associated Press.

The French fashion president, one of the most discreet yet powerful figures in the world of fashion thus answers detractors who predict the demise of the age-old tradition.

Grumbach believes that couture — an artisanal clothes-making method that exists only in Paris? has many healthy years ahead.

Haute couture exists against all the odds: creations which range in price from $19,000 to $125,000 being bought by women thought to number no more than 100 in the world.

"But Armani's coming here to Paris, it shows that fashion needs haute couture. ... It's not just about selling clothes: it's an advert, an ideas factory," added Grumbach.

Strong showings both from Armani Prive and Chanel prove that couture — 150 years since its birth — still has a lot to say.

CHANEL

What do a supermodel and a 79-year-old former French first lady have in common? Chanel haute couture.

The unlikely pairing of Laetitita Casta and Bernadette Chirac was seen at Karl Lagerfeld's aptly titled "New Vintage" show.

Their presence showed the unique and enduring allure of 100-year-old Chanel. Down the catwalk, adorned with vintage sketches of Coco Chanel's lavish house interior, went shimmering silk tweed skirt suits, ensembles from the '50s and '60s, and a '30s bolero jacket. Other outfits sparkled with a contemporary metallic sheen.

In some instances, Lagerfeld resurrected the 1980s. A series of ensembles in big, bold textured checks in black, gray and white channeled the decade's strong shoulders and narrow hemline. In other looks, pink tulle fringing recreated a dropped waist effect from the 1920s.

Elsewhere, double-breasted A-lines, a Peter Pan collar and ensembles in pale pink and white might have come straight out of Jacqueline's Kennedy early '60s wardrobe.

The boldest looks came toward the end: Lagerfeld let his pony-tailed hair down in a shimmering electric blue dress that could have been Coco's answer to 1970s glam rock.

"Ravishing," said Chirac.

"It's French perfectionism," said Casta.

"It's hard for the seamstresses," said Lagerfeld. "They toil over the clothes. The tulle with pearl took 3,000 hours. Couture is for a world of privilege."

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