Chanel puts on the Ritz at Paris fashion show


The legendary French fashion label Chanel paid hommage to its founder Coco Chanel Tuesday with a show at the Ritz in Paris.

Pillbox hats with netted veils, long woolly jumpers and scarves, tweed suits glittering with gorgeous inlay and pearls aplenty, you half expected Mademoiselle Chanel to appear for afternoon tea with one of her ne’er do well aristocratic lovers.

The redoubtable designer spent a large part of her life living in a suite in the swish hotel, including most controversially during World War II, when a German intelligence officer, Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage, shared her bed.

But designer Karl Lagerfeld — who has rarely echoed her style more in his three decades at the helm of her label — preferred to concentrate on the happier more frivolous times.

Models rarely smile on the Paris catwalk, but here they positively beamed as they skipped between the tables of its tearoom to “Putting on the Ritz”, occasionally falling into the arms of a beau in tails (and Afro).

Led out by two models-turned-actresses, Cara Delevingne and Lily-Rose Depp — the daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Hollywood star Johnny Depp — this was a show about the insouciance of having it all; the indiscreet charm of the jet set writ large.

– Pearls and 1930s glamour –

The singer Pharrell Williams wore pearls not just around his neck but on top of his head, and was more than happy about it, while Levi Dylan, the grandson of singer and surprise Nobel laureate Bob Dylan sported a tweed bomber jacket.

“The Ritz is very Paris, but men and women from all over the world come here, so it is a temple of cosmopolitan elegance,” Lagerfeld told reporters afterwards.

The annual show which celebrates the artistry of Chanel’s small army of embroiderers, plumassiers and bootmakers made a few knowing nods to street style with oversized beanie hats and peddlepushers, but otherwise this was a time-machine trip through classic killer Chanel looks.

Hardly a head was not decorated with a plume, a fascinator hat or a camellia, Coco Chanel’s favourite flower.

With eyes peering through net veils, and flared leather black trousers with black and white tweed and leather jackets, it was the acme of 1930s elegance revisited.