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Haute couture is quite, quite unlike pret a porter in more ways than I can count. The most obvious being the amount of customers. (For some houses, we are talking mere hundreds.) The manner in which the clothes are shown often differs too.

Although Chanel show on a breathtaking scale at the ready to wear collections in vast, echoing spaces to what seems like a supporting cast of thousands, and have shown couture in equally large spaces, this season the haute couture show took place in a moderately sized grand salon on rue Cambon, where the Chanel mothership is based, with just three rows of pale grey spindly chairs with pink upholstery for the assorted private clients, select press, fashion editors, and friends of the house (read celebrities) who make up a typical couture show audience.

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Outside on rue Cambon it was paparazzi mayhem. (As I walked from my hotel around the corner, I mentally sharpened my elbows and my vertiginous Bionda Castana heels specially in preparation for breaking through the crush to the entrance.)

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That bunfight is because inside there are many, many celebrities:

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Plus Jerry Hall, Alexa Chung and more… (I’m a terrible reporter: I never recognise anyone. I sat next to Yasmin le Bon once for an entire show in London and only discovered who it was when a friend on the opposite front row alerted me through a Tweet)

But sod the celebrities. This is why I was there:

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Look after look of ravishing workmanship, which proved yet again that haute couture can be  relevant and desirable in the 21st century, with Mr Lagerfeld’s streamlined shapes and clever re-workings of traditional couture lines.

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As the show drew to an end, the mirrored arch drew into the wings & the curtain flew up:

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to reveal the full set piece finale:

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Karl Lagerfeld, with Kristen McMenamy who closed as the traditional couture bride,  blowing a kiss to the audience

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And then I fought my way out through the massed camera crews and shiny people to the calm, crisp world outside, tiny Chanel carrier swinging from my fingers, containing a bottle of eau de cologne, our going home present.

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52 comments

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Ahhh….. beautiful! To attend a Chanel show, especially Haute Couture would be a dream! 🙂

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Indeed: that’s exactly what it felt like! LLGxx

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oh my lordy how utterly sublime! im in love with the simplicity of the designs yet the details of the craftmanship will make these classics of the future im sure! Super jealous but thank-you for sharing so quickly! Much appreciated!

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Why thank YOU! I think you are right: it was the purity of line contrasted with the exquisite craft that made this so beautiful LLGxx

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You lucky thing! This looks amazing, I adored the looks. I hope I can attend these shows one day! x

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Chanel HC looks absolutely spectacular for this season. You must feel so honoured to have been invited! Very jealous indeed.

Alice

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I was, of course! A truly out of the quotidian experience LLGxx

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Lucky you. And what a validation of your LLG work.

I’m clearly even worse than you at recognising celebrities for I have no clue who anyone is in your celebrity photo.

But I am stunned, stunned I tell you that people would turn up to a haute couture show wearing jeans……

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You know, there were jeans on the runway! LLGxx

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I know, “sod the celebrities,” etc, but when i saw that photo , all i thought was jesus christ, look at Vanessa Paradis! in your pic, taken from a distance and surrounded by all the other beautiful people, she out-bedazzles everyone. she is inhumanly good-looking! the cheekbones! the eyes! is she really that striking or is it just a photographic accident?

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Yes, she is. I find it quite reassuring that there really IS a reason for her celebrity. LLGxx

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God, he’s a genius. Those necklines…

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Amazing experience that is pure fashion in ways that are hard to imagine.

I’m so glad it never deigned to become crass even with the madness of louche all around.

Long ago (probably still) YSL took a very grand suite at the Regency in NY for clients and I actually touched a few. Indescribable everything.

Like going to church (for me anyway).

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I think pure fashion does indeed sum it up. The very quintessence…LLGxx

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It’s probably indecent to admit that this is the FIFTH time I’ve looked at this post today, but I just can’t look away! Thank you for transporting me to the glittering salon of Rue Cambon on this dreary day. Truly the stuff sartorial dreams are made of!

On a completely unrelated note, and I do mean this in an ENTIRELY non-pervy way, but was just watching your Zara vid (wasn’t working for me the other evening), and could happily listen to you talk to the camera for hours! You know exactly how to command the video’s eye, and have a voice like expensive chocolate (I’m not sure that makes sense out loud, but I mean it as a compliment).

Briony xx

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Ohh – I like being described as expensive chocolate – thank you!

And BTW, I felt transported sitting there too. LLGxx

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Oh lucky, lucky you! Although as a sew[ist]/er, I’d e wanting to see how they’re made, to learn all those fabulous tailoring techniques.

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Yes, I didn’t have the opportunity this time to get that close, but I’d love to, too LLGxx

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