Lagerfeld wows stars in Paris
A bitter separation gloriously ended, a setting to rival Versailles, a toddler on the catwalk and -- mais bien sûr -- some extremely short shorts: Chanel has easily conjured up the most spectacular show of Paris Fashion Week.
The huge exhibition space of the Grand Palais was transformed into a monochrome, black stone and white-gravelled formal garden 350 metres long. Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel's equally monochrome designer, gnomically called this "arid romantic".
Lily Allen, Keira Knightley and Vanessa Paradis were among a front row subjected to a Lagerfeld blitzkrieg. The fountains were at full blast as models including Stella Tennant and Freja Beha Erichsen emerged from behind a full orchestra to promenade moodily.
Chanel's vision ran a riotous gamut from gothically feathered sheer black evening gowns to boucle hotpants, via gloves with an inner lining of crystal, tweed wedges with fluorescent flashes, pleated floral dresses and leather stockings.
There was one big talking point -- the return to Chanel's catwalk after 21 years of Ines de la Fressange, Lagerfeld's long-lost muse, who was his collaborator for years until 1989. The audience clapped her progress around Lagerfeld's garden and, very unmodelishly, she smiled every step of the way.
The early consensus here is that Chanel has lifted what was in danger of becoming a so-so Paris Fashion Week into something unforgettable.