Sneakers underpin Chanel’s breezy couture creations

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The mood was in stark contrast to its Fall-Winter show last July, whose set evoked a bombed-out theatre.

Head designer Karl Lagerfeld said Tuesday’s bright white decor was meant to suggest a “nightclub in another galaxy”.

Top British grunge model Cara Delevingne took a star turn to kick off the show, bouncing down a stairway in a white body-hugging brocade two-piece skirt suit with tennis shoes on her feet as French singer-songwriter Sebastien Tellier provided a keyboard accompaniment.

Tennis shoes also made an appearance in Monday’s runway show by Dior — will women, even on the red carpet, say, at the Cannes film festival dare to opt for sensible shoes this spring?

The feeling is that of “being at home and opening the door for the concierge with the mail,” Lagerfeld said.

In any case these were not common or garden tennis shoes, for the most part, but up-market creations in their own right, many featuring fancy embroidery.

But despite the labour-intensive, meticulous work by Lagerfeld’s “petites mains” — literally small hands, or haute couture seamstresses — he said after the show: “You have to have lightness, otherwise haute couture has a somewhat old-fashioned image…. It’s 2014 after all!”

Delevingne returned to close the show in an ephemeral frock suggesting a wedding dress but still with sneakers on her feet, plus an elaborate feather headdress and sequins for eye makeup.

Lagerfeld’s six-year-old godson Hudson Kroenig, wearing a white suit with a Nehru collar, carried the long train.

Hudson’s model father Brad has long served as muse to the veteran German designer.

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