Monumental animal art infuses Chanel’s gleaming couture show | Entertainment

Paris (AFP) Art returned to the glittering world of Chanel fashion Tuesday, with giant animal sculptures swarming the runway center like a surreal zoo for the Paris Fashion Week show.

Designer Virginie Viard collaborated with contemporary artist Xavier Veilhan who used the Coco Chanel founder’s home apartment as a creative springboard for her carnival-themed spring decor.

And yet, as simplistic, lifeless and monochromatic as the animals—made of wood, paper, and uncoated cardboard— appeared, the Chanel collection contrasted wildly, resplendent with color and sequins in an extraordinarily vibrant display.

Here are some highlights:

CHANEL Animal Parade

Vilhan said he wanted to “evoke the ever-evolving relationship with animals in our societies.”

A VIP front row that included Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton, G-Dragon and Vanessa Paradis watched as a huge camel, bull, fish, horse and lion resembling exploding cellphones were transported on this bizarre amphitheater, below a ceiling installation of large geometric discs.

A bird was lunging with a large beak and countless dingy wooden poles seemed to be giving birth to a model wearing a top hat and a split white riding jacket with a fringed skirt. There were guests reaching for their cameras — and someone called it the “Trojan chick.”

The rest of the group seemed less directly connected to the animal theme — and that level of subtlety wasn’t a bad thing. Boucle tweed coat dresses and jackets feature animal motifs – such as the embroideries of Labrador retrievers and Scottish Terriers. Elsewhere, there were strong equestrian styles, building on ideas from Viard’s earlier seasons. Here, a riding jacket was key, layered in shimmery silk tweed over Gamine miniskirts and youth skirts.

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There were plenty of quirks in the long white gloves, black and white bow ties and tight black or gold-tipped boots with white lace that looked like boxers—but they sometimes felt out of place.

The power of this ultra-posh and poetic design—which sparkled throughout with brocade, foil, sequins and sparkly silk—speaks for itself.

One loose, amorphous gown shimmered like a silver fish with thousands of embroidered sequins and black, white and gold silk bodice. Elsewhere, a thickly woven bell skirt was created using undulating layers of white silk like an underwater shell, or perhaps a thin stratos cloud.

Cirque Armani Prive

At the grand stone entrance to the Garde Républicaine, Giorgio Armani’s late start forces guests – some scantily dressed – to wait in the bitter evening chill. Once given the go-ahead, Michelle Yeoh was among the first to walk the Romantic Lantern Trail — making her “so happy to be here.” Then came Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, extolling the “feminist power of haute couture”.

Juliette Binoche was next, dodging questions about playing Coco Chanel in the upcoming Apple TV series “The New Look” saying, “That’s not tonight, now’s the time to support Giorgio – he’s a huge supporter of artists.”

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Once the media circus had subsided, guests were seated on a clown stage lined with intricately colored emulsions, before a merry set.

Silk bolero jackets opened the 1980s show, with lozenges popping up throughout—first as a three-dimensional relief of the jacket, and, more spectacularly, later in a blocky, tiled explosion.

The highly delicate embroideries in every color under the sun are dripped down in sometimes A-line and body-hugging column shades.

But so many styles and shapes have come together in this all-encompassing collection—with oversized bejeweled floral motifs, dazzling sequined jackets and geometric-patterned turtlenecks—that it’s hard to pin down the show as a whole.

Sometimes the clothes could have benefited from Armani’s insistence on structure—like a one-piece gown with crinkly panels at the skirt—but there was just too much dazzle and subtlety that many of the guests didn’t notice.

Alexis Mabel color

His fusion of costume design mixed with drama.

French designer Alexis Mabille paired ancient Greek tunics with sarees in bright colors for a South Asian outfit. She produced a soft spring collection with longer silhouettes and fluttering scarves that used dozens of yards of floor-draping silk.

Bejeweled flowers adorn the hairdo, which flows freely, like draped lengths of fabric.

Green gown with a bottle cut flattering hourglass silhouette. It reshaped the model’s body—open at the sides, wider at the top—and was held in place by a Grecian waistband. The porcelain blue gown, flowing disorderly from its round neck to the floor, was notable for its pure simplicity.

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Not everything was a hit, though, like the blue hoodie dress with slightly mismatched lapels, and a misplaced belt that confused the eye.

Stéphane Rolland goes to glam

A movie was shown on a giant screen for Stéphane Rolland’s guests before the show, and it featured an homage to the 1959 movie “Black Orpheus,” which was shot in Brazil. The film, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is set in the context of a favela during the famous Carnival period.

But Roland seemed more interested in carnivals than he was in poverty in any favela—and the costume design itself was edgy, groovy with a ballroom kick, and, as always, very sculptural.

The pure white and black gowns were adorned with a giant piece of cloth, one as a floor-scraping train or as a huge neck band when the model shifted to a bare back. The other look, and one of the best from the ensemble, was a 3D backless mini dress with a bias-cut skirt. It launched into a huge hip wave.

Rolland’s play on the dramatic effect of the body reveals the purity of the often clean-cut lengths of fabric—with plunging V-necklines, split skirts and cropped shoulders.

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