Chanel heads up imaginative, spirited day of shows

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Naturally, many of the brighter ensembles stood out, too.

Bright pink and blue felted oversized sweaters were accessorized to kitsch effect with huge pale or silver pearl necklace clusters.

There was a highly accomplished delivery of color palette also, which lifted one checked red-and-white A-line dress, with the top part sliced off.

It paired beautifully with a contrasting, yet complementary loose blue and red coat.

Another stand out piece was a white bateau-neck ensemble with check navy bands with a clean, slightly sporty vide.

Lagerfeld, who turns 80 next year, certainly hasn’t let age slow him down: It’s the youngest collection Chanel’s seen for a while.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

Fashion is body armor.

At least it is for Sarah Burton, who tapped her fantastical imagination for Alexander McQueen to conjure up fashion week’s most original show: Mixing insect-like armory with on-trend stiff bar jackets of the New Look, as well as 19th century crinoline.

If it sounds strange, it was _ set to a backdrop of images of bees and honeycomb _ with each model wearing a visor reminiscent at once of the 1950s wide hat, a cage and a beekeepers mask.

Have fashions over the ages, she seemed to ask, caged and protected us like in the natural world?

A cinched metal or tortoiseshell waist band _ a recurrent Burton feature _ which fanned out into a peplum in some of the looks resembled an abdomen of a wasp or queen bee.

The fascinating collection of 31 looks _ which had fashion insiders amazed _ was as thought-out as it was perfectly executed with metal mesh materials that sparkled mechanically.

The 1950s were visited in full skirts which mixed with structuralist fashion: Hard bodice cages, which showed the inner working of corsetry of the crinoline age, on the outside.

The last collections revisited the queen theme: Billowing structured skirts in beige, soft yellow and vermilion looked like a surrealist take on Marie Antoinette.

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