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Paris Fashion Week: Chanel goes spelunking, McQueen goes big - really big

It's the last of the major fashion weeks for Fall/Winter 2012 collections and Globe Style's Amy Verner is there, dispatching from all the big shows at Paris Fashion Week. On the penultimate day, designers went bold with metals, jewels and fur

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Last season, Karl Lagerfeld conceived a bleached underwater mise-en-scène for his Chanel ready-to-wear show. On Tuesday, gigantic stalactites appeared to have broken through the ground of the Grand Palais. It’s as if he’s taking us through his decadent interpretation of the Planet Earth documentary series.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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Katy Perry and her blue hair were invited along for the ride.

Thibault Camus / AP/Thibault Camus / AP

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Crystals and embellished bits emerged from the shoulders of sporty jackets. Even the models’ eyebrows appeared to be frosted in jewelled icicles.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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Reflective magenta and violet prism panels overshadowed the beautiful construction of this coat. At the very least, why not make them double as smartphone chargers.

Jacques Brinon / AP/Jacques Brinon / AP

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Styling note: Skinny, cuffed pants appeared under skirts, tunics and coats. But proceed with caution. Vivid colours, puzzling composition.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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Who runs the world? Girls!

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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At three-years-old, Hudson Kroenig is practically a model veteran, having already joined dad Brad for a loop around the playground, er, catwalk last year. If Hudson is like other toddlers, he snacks on Cheerios and can’t even count. Yet he’s wearing a mini version of Chanel’s new quilted Boy bag.

Jacques Brinon / AP/Jacques Brinon / AP

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Two words: Purple swag.

Benoit Tessier / Reuters/Benoit Tessier / Reuters

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According to the program notes for the Valentino show, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli “indulge in tactile artisan craftsmanship while they reduce a line to its pure architectural essence.” Judging by this outfit, I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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This was a stellar collection for the duo who reigned in any tendency toward excess, instead applying details in unexpected places. Check out the smocking on these shoulders and how it subsequently produces a new sleeve silhouette.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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A pure and simple red dress benefits from oversized scalloped neck and hemlines.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

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In the hands of Chiuri and Piccioli, Italian sensuality has been fully fused with French savoir-faire.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

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Voilà, patchwork as applied to an evening dress. It’s a clever conceit, as quaint as it is exquisite.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

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This isn’t your grandmother’s needlepoint. There is a certain sportiness to the way this gown is shaped around the shoulders and yet the effect of the appliqué feels deeply romantic.

Stephane Mahe / Reuters/Stephane Mahe / Reuters

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Paco Rabanne, a line that seized on late 1960s and 70s nightlife, has been brought back to life by Manish Arora. His maximalist message of last season – his first – eased into a rock steady mix of relaxed knits and swishy metal.

Francois Mori / AP/Francois Mori / AP

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This sweater-style dress proves there’s no limit to what can be done with chainmail.

Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes / Reuters

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And if you’re wondering who will be wearing these pieces, look no further than front-row fashion plate, Daphne Guinness.

Zacharie Scheurer / AP/Zacharie Scheurer / AP

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On the penultimate night of Paris Fashion Week, the fashion world was left breathless over the beauty of Sarah Burton’s collection for Alexander McQueen. The show began with coatdresses that boasted the fragile sculpting of biscuit porcelain and sumptuous Mongolian fur. Oh, and high-gloss visors.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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The visors and bleached, slicked hair remained a constant throughout the show. Ditto the brushed metal bow belts. But dresses proceeded through a fondant pink grouping into this high-contrast doily effect.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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Burton gradually introduced more and more volume, through fur pompoms or feathers. By this point, the creations started to resemble wondrous sea anemones.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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And then they got even bigger! What a ridiculously ravishing expression of volume. As I see it, Alexander McQueen would not have done a collection like this. It lacked his demons. But Burton is honouring his genius – while confirming she’s got a lot to give.

Christophe Ena / AP/Christophe Ena / AP

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