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Platform shoes tred Paris catwalk at Chanel, Lacroix

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Funky platform sandals or wedgies were de rigueur at the Paris fashion shows on Friday, be it to offset Chanel's leggy hemlines or for Christian Lacroix's style voyage.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld stuck largely to black and white, sending out hot pants, sporty separates and reworked Chanel staples such as three-quarter sleeve jackets and tweed ensembles.

Victoria Beckham and Lenny Kravitz were in the front row at the show, where white Japanese-style screens slid back at the end to reveal backstage rails and dressers.

"It's the Chanel heritage in the world of today," said the veteran designer afterwards, of his spring-summer 2007 ready-to-wear wardrobe, his white hair put up in the customary pony tail.

Guests were asked to show passports or another form of identity with their invites to access the venue, Paris' enormous steel and glass exhibition hall, the Grand Palais.

The Chanel designer often sheathed models in sheer wispy black for a return to layering, even over white such as pairing a transparent black shirt over a glittery short white dress.

Although he refrained from very fancy embellishment, he used chains, same-colour sequins or buttons for detail, punctuating with bold accessories like lots of bangles worn together.

Stripes offered a much more casual look, especially the comfortable sporty tops whose arms stretched up over the head for a chic new take on the hoodie, and little tunic dresses.

But opening the show, pristine white, front-tied coat-dresses with only the iconic interlocking Cs embroidered on the breast, seemed to say "Jjust look at the shoes". You could hardly not, as they were see-thru platform sandals, with a gold and silver glittery heel and sole.

"Wild Journey" was how French designer Christian Lacroix described his happy mix of colour, print and styles that ran from chic Parisian elegance to hints of African culture.

Models were coiffed in russet wigs in cropped bobs, while for footwear they walked the green catwalk in towering-wedged sandals with angular steps cut into the heel and tassles dangling from ankle straps.

He offered geometric patterns, as well as graphic-cut rolls of fabric in layers rippling around dresses, which was an especially fine feature on a emerald satiny cocktail dress.

Gorgeous satiny pink, white and black made for very wearable and glamorous straight or loose trousers, or even shorts. Slender cuts contrasted with pretty lantern- or umbrella-shaped pieces.

'Boubou' printed cottons in red and electric blue or violet and mint, as well as strings of bright red beads around the neck and wrist, or a little elephant basket bag, offered a touch of Africa.

Britain's Alexander McQueen unveils his collection later. Paris fashion week runs until Sunday.



AFP 061836 GMT 10 06

COPYRIGHT 2006 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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