Runway and Backstage Photos of Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 Paris-Byzance Collection

Chanel Brings Byzantine to Paris with Pre-Fall 2011 Collection

Runway and Backstage Photos of Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 Paris-Byzance Collection

>> Karl Lagerfeld almost hosted this year's Paris-Byzance-themed Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 show in Istanbul, but instead settled on transforming the house's Rue Cambon couture salons in Paris with pillows and stained glass tables to put the focus on the clothes and for something more intimate. Besides, the show, which aims to highlight the abilities of Chanel's couture ateliers (some of the heavily embellished pieces can run $20,000 to $40,000), which will be reprised next Spring in Istanbul, anyway.

The theme was inspired by Gabrielle Chanel's Byzantine cross-adorned cuffs and the Byzantine empress Theodora: "Theodora was a circus artist who became empress, like Chanel, who was a little singer and became a fashion empress." He continued: “I like the idea of these two strong women,” before adding with a wink: “You know, there’s Chanel everywhere . . . I take a little idea and I make a collection.”

After the show, Lagerfeld and co. were headed to Berlin by private jet, where he was set to photograph a Volkswagen campaign.

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