Lagerfeld backs French gay marriage with Chanel catwalk finale

PARIS Tue Jan 22, 2013 10:18pm IST

1 of 2. A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for French fashion house Chanel as part of his Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2013 fashion show in Paris January 22, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

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PARIS (Reuters) - Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld sent two models dressed as brides alongside his tiny godson down the catwalk on Tuesday in a public show of support for French government plans to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption.

The models and Lagerfeld's four-year-old godson took the final bow at the German designer's Chanel haute couture show before Lagerfeld gave voice to his opinions on the subject in an interview with Reuters after the show.

"I do not understand why people who live together cannot have the same security as those bourgeois who are married," said one of the fashion world's most successful designers, who is also renowned for his controversial comments on everything from politics to celebrity personalities.

"Two women getting married, I find that natural, and having two mothers is a good thing."

The French government's proposals have divided opinion and sparked huge protests both in favour and against.

Earlier this month, roughly half a million people marched through Paris demanding that President Francois Hollande withdraw the reform bill and hold a national debate on the issue.

However, the government said it remained determined to submit the legislation to parliament and pass it by June.

Lagerfeld's show was held as usual in the cavernous Grand Palais, which was transformed into a gigantic forest with towering pine trees surrounding a wooden amphitheatre where models strutted in white sand.

The nature-inspired collection featuring embroidered tulle and sequined flowers echoed the garden-themed show presented on Monday by Belgian designer Raf Simons for Christian Dior (LVMH.PA).

Tulips, roses, camellias and birds of paradise took centre stage at Chanel, embroidered on sequined tulle dresses which took more than 1,000 hours to make, Lagerfeld said.

Models paraded in long-lace boots with open toes and shiny heels that gave their silhouettes a romantic and modern touch.

"As nature is threatened, might as well celebrate it," Lagerfeld said.

MABILLE AND ROLLAND

On Monday evening, Alexis Mabille, who presented his first collection as a full-fledged member of Parisian haute couture, opted for evening gowns in sorbet colours, crafted with intricate embroidery, delicate lace and clouds of tulle.

Striking pieces included a retro 1940s style siren-shaped scarlet dress and black tuxedo outfit with a thigh-high slit that seemed designed for entertainer Dita Von Teese, who was sitting on the front row.

Later on Tuesday, French designer Stephane Rolland, known for his Parisian workshop's couture dresses, said he was branching out into ready-to-wear with a first boutique in Abu Dhabi scheduled to open end-March.

The designer, whose sculptural wares are favoured by Middle Eastern women, said he planned to open other boutiques in the region as well as in London and in China. Rolland declined to give a precise timeline for the other boutiques nor reveal the identity of the business partner.

Asked if the partner was French, Rolland told Reuters: "There are no French financiers (for fashion), they do not exist anymore."

Rolland, who dresses the glamorous wife of the emir of Qatar, Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser, worked until last year to help the secretive Qatar Luxury Group create a luxury brand from scratch.

The launch of the brand, to be called Qela, was initially planned to coincide with Qatar's first fashion week in March last year but was postponed several times.

The group made its first acquisition in 2011 with Paris-listed French accessories brand Le Tanneur for 26 million euros and said on its website it remains on the lookout for acquisitions.

Rolland presented a sculptural black and white collection with a 1970s James Bond-themed edge dominated by long flowing capes and see-through, sequined trains.

At the Palais de Tokyo modern art museum in Paris, models strutted on silver platforms wearing close-fitting silk-crepe backless dresses with emerald crystal embroidery and sash-dresses with ostrich feathers or organza embroidery.

Rolland concluded his show by sending 82-year old model Carmen Dell'Orefice down the catwalk in an ivory white tuxedo ornamented with white corals and an oversize flowing cape.

(Additional reporting by Elena Berton, editing by Paul Casciato)

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