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Karl Lagerfeld turning couture on its head

FashionBy Sunday World
Karl Lagerfeld turning couture on its head

Karl Lagerfeld has created a completely new way of making haute couture, bragging he's brought it into the 21st century.

The Chanel designer put on a lavish Autumn/Winter 15 couture show in July (15), with models wearing one-off pieces on a set which looked like a casino.

One of the looks took the label's classic quilted jacket and re-imagined it for a new generation. It was made using a high-tech laser which spun the piece using powder, reading the design and then spitting it out in 3D.

"I took the most iconic 20th-century jacket and remade it using a technique that couldn't have possibly been imagined by Chanel in her time," Karl told Britain's Elle magazine.

Creative consultant Amanda Harlech added: "Any client who orders it will have her body mapped in order to produce it - it's the very 'haute' of 21st century couture."

These lines are handmade by a team of sewers called petites mains, who are trained in the delicate work required. If a gown is covered in crystal beads each of them will be hand-sewn on, making the work painstaking and the concentration required meticulous.

Madame Cecile has been at Chanel for 13 years and is one of the best known women in the atelier. She calls her main responsibility "perfection" and she prides herself on never having been presented a problem she hasn't been able to solve.

She chooses which job should go to which member of the team, meaning she has to know all of their strengths.

"Nowadays couture and ready-to-wear have become a little mixed up by the industry and also in how they're seen by the public, but they are totally different jobs - couture involves working by hand all day every day, while ready-to-wear clothes are made on machines," she told Britain's Marie Claire.

"Lots of couture houses have closed, so there are less training grounds, but there will always be wealthy ladies who want to have beautifully made clothes. When you find girls with the right skills to work here, they're like gold and we hang on to them."

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