PARIS Most designers try to make consumers dream at their fashion shows, but Karl Lagerfeld sought to bring them back into real life by presenting his latest collection in a spoof Chanel supermarket.
Paris' prestigious Grand Palais, where the French brand traditionally hosts its glamorous shows, was filled with endless rows of Chanel-branded pasta, cheeses, sauces, detergents and other products of daily life created solely for the occasion.
"For me the supermarket is the pop art of today," Lagerfeld said on Tuesday after the show, admitting he rarely went to supermarkets himself.
Pushing brightly colored trolleys and pretending to exchange gossip, models picked up products with tongue-in-cheek labels such as Coco beer bottles, Chateau Gabrielle white wine and Chanel crémeuh - or creamoo - milk.
Others carried metallic baskets adorned with Chanel's iconic handbag chains.
The designer's new autumn/winter collection was full of oversized tweed jackets worn over shiny pencil-thin pants complete with flashy sneakers, also spotted at January's haute couture show.
Some models wore comfortable-looking orange woolen jogging suits and fluorescent pink shredded leggings.
Speakers spat out loud pop music, interrupted by public announcements such as "the young Marine is waiting for her parents at the cashiers" or "Mrs Martin is requested at the fresh foods department".
Lagerfeld said Chanel had created more than 500 different labels and put more than 100,000 items on display, some of which would be later given to charity.
No cost or detail was spared to create the atmosphere of a typical French supermarket such as Carrefour.
Hanging over the white aisles, some giant yellow signs offered 20 percent discounts while others said: "the DIY department is open on Sundays," pointing to recent controversy in France over allowing DIY shops to trade on Sundays.
Once the show was over, many members of the audience furiously seized Chanel food products from the shelves.
"The supermarket concept was brilliant as it put fashion into real life," French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis, previously the face of Chanel's Coco perfume and lipstick, told Reuters after the show.
Lagerfeld, who turned 80 last year and has spent three decades at Chanel's helm, is credited with having regularly infused fresh life into the brand to keep it modern and in tune with its times while remaining faithful to its heritage.
"It is not because you buy Chanel clothes that you should not be allowed into the supermarket," Lagerfeld said after exchanging hugs and kisses with his A-lists guests such as singer Rihanna and actress Keira Knightley.
(Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Catherine Evans)