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Chanel Haute Couture SS14

Skipping from a spinning zoetrope, Chanel pushes couture and crystal trainers into the playground

TextSusie LauPhotographyLea Colombo

Initial reaction:

Haute couture's never ending quest for modernity and relevance found an answer at Chanel, where Karl Lagerfeld proposed a wilfully youthful outlook. This isn't the type of couture that sits still and worn with stiff poses. Couture can run free with a canter. 

The set:

A giant cylinder shape that resembled a zoetrope, a Victorian animation device. It spun slowly to reveal two sweeping staircases surrounding Sébastien Tellier and his mini orchestra where the show played out. What was Karl saying? Were we all on a never-ending hamster wheel just going through the motions, or that you never know what's around the corner in this wheel of life. Either way, the message was that life is fast and fluid and these are the clothes that are pushing couture forward. 

The sporty thing:

The Twittersphere and trend hacks got overly excited as Dior's couture trainers yesterday were followed up with every single model at Chanel today wearing trainers made up in a variety of pastel tweeds by Paris shoe maison Massaro. Some wore embellished skater knee and elbow pads, and bum bags, and the effect was like a super luxe version of the smiley girls in pink in a Toys 'r' Us catalogue. The sportiness was emphasised by the consistently cropped shape of tops, and Lagerfeld pushed his version of "play" clothes - leggings, button-down jumpsuits and cycling shorts in sparkly lace and crystal embroidery. The super rich clientele were clapping with joy at the idea of this decadent work out gear.

Stand out pieces:

Where to begin? A sweet boatneck peach lace top with matching cycling shorts, encrusted with sequins. A pastel rainbow cropped space-agey wool top with bum bag and high-waisted skirt. A button-down see-through jacket and long skirt covered in luminescent sequins. My Little Pony hued feathers covering a pair of round-hipped cropped trousers like a cute plush toy. Cara Delevingne's final "runaway" bride look with rings of crystal embellishment. 

The way they moved:

The models had a spring in their step as they ran down the stairs and along the catwalk, aided of course by the trainers. Paired with Shampoo (of Japanese manga Ranma)-esque bunched up hair and neat Mia Farrow cropped hair, the effect was undeniably charming. As they bounced and bounded about, you wondered what is admittedly an older couture crowd, were thinking. Perhaps it was Karl's cheeky comment on the way that age is just a number these days and that the women, who are cash-rich, can appear to be younger and younger.