Giant replicas of the distinctive Chanel number 5 perfume bottles towered over the runway at Karl Lagerfeld’s haute couture show for next winter in the Grand Palais last Tuesday night.

In the global recession it was a timely reminder of the reliable revenue for fashion houses from scent, which Coco Chanel was one of the first to understand.

Meanwhile on the catwalk Lagerfeld gave a new twist to another of the Chanel classics, the tweed daysuit.

He inserted an extra panel into the back of skirts, often dipping well below the rest of the hemline.

Coats got similar treatment, with long flapping panels, some trimmed with fur, and tulle spewing out in between. Some silhouettes with pointed fronts looked like men’s tailcoats.

Asymmetrically cut cocktail outfits in midnight blue satin and black had curvy swallow tails, lined in contrasting scarlet or fuschia.

Flapping trains on evening frocks were worked in liquid shiny sequins.

A little black dress had shoulders encrusted with metal studs and pearls like epaulettes and military frogging.

Hair was big and bouffant, unless enclosed under the occasional curious cloche in sheer net studded with silver and pearls. Default accessories were black lacy hose and matching gauntlets and laced up shiny patent ankle boots.

Earlier Riccardo Tisci’s collection for Givenchy had a North African or Middle Eastern feel, with multiple gold necklaces like a mosaic mask over the face, draped sarouels dripping with jade or black and gold sequins, and cut fake precious stones scattered over a long white dress.

Crystals also came in unexpected colours, vivid pink, green and fluorescent orange, mingled with metallic cones on powder pink evening gowns. – AFP Relaxnews