PARIS — The red-carpet glamor of haute couture — with its dripping paillettes, glistening silks and exorbitant price tag — makes it a natural bedfellow for A-list actresses the world over.
The spring-summer season 2013 is certainly no exception, with Tuesday, the second day of couture week, attracting a throng of top stars, old and young — as it has for decades.
"Kill Bill" star Uma Thuman likes Armani couture so much that she flew in hundreds of miles especially to catch the 15-minute show.
"He's one of the few designers who's been dressing Hollywood actresses since the beginning," said Thurman of the Italian fashion legend, who held a typically sumptuous couture display of luxurious silks, with rhinestones, jet and crystal.
Chanel also is a celebrity mainstay — with Karl Lagerfeld's shimmering woven silks and braided tulles this season attracting Diane Kruger, Clemence Poesy and perhaps one of couture's youngest fans, 16-year-old Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld.
But it's not all pretty. Kim Kardashian's tardy entrance at Stephane Rolland's show caused delays.
Haute couture is an artisan-based method of making clothes that dates back more than 150 years. The very expensive garments, shown in collections only in Paris twice a year, are bought by a core group of no more than 100 rich women around the world.
One palace, 90 oak trees and more than 3,000 bushes is the kind of decadence that spells only one thing: Chanel haute couture.
The natural landscape framed a show that put a contemporary, floral spin on the dropped shoulders of the 19th century France's Second Empire.
Revelers shivered as they entered near-freezing glen inside Paris Grand Palais. But for the upbeat designer Karl Lagerfeld, the season was clearly one of optimism.
"It's not cold, it's just fresh. Spring is in the air," he said from the bushes after the show.
Models with 19th century-style feathers cascading from their hair sported 69 looks in silk, lace and tulle. Dropped-square shoulders defined the esthetic.
With Chanel, there is always more than meets the eye. Here, that was found in the tweed — or the lack of it. All the skirt suits that resembled tweed were, in fact, fastidiously woven silk ribbons.
Only a few living designers can execute a couture show where almost every look glistens as much with classic timelessness as it does with innovation.
Continue reading this story on the...