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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Fashion's king Karl Lagerfeld crowned in Paris

The designer was awarded the Grand Vermeil medal, France's highest honour, after the Chanel haute couture show

Paris's mayor Anne Hidalgo awards the Grand Vermeil De La Ville De Paris medal to German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld after Chanel's haute couture autumn/winter 2017-18 show in Paris on July 4.  Patrick Kovarik / AFP
Paris's mayor Anne Hidalgo awards the Grand Vermeil De La Ville De Paris medal to German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld after Chanel's haute couture autumn/winter 2017-18 show in Paris on July 4. Patrick Kovarik / AFP

They call him the "kaiser", and Karl Lagerfeld came as close as you can come to being crowned king of Paris on July 4, when the French capital awarded the fashion designer its highest honour.

The 83-year-old was given the Grand Vermeil medal by mayor Anne Hidalgo, who called the legendary German-born creator "an immense talent and a wonderful person".

"Paris loves you - you are Paris," she told him under a massive 125-foot model of the Eiffel Tower that Lagerfeld built as the centrepiece of his Chanel haute couture 2017 show.

"Your genius and talent has made Paris even more magic, creative and beautiful," Hidalgo said to the designer, whose ageless style and acid tongue have endeared him to generations of Parisians.

"I am a foreigner, and we foreigners see Paris and France with another eye," Lagerfeld told a cheering crowd that included Katy Perry, Cara Delevingne and Tilda Swinton.

Lagerfeld said that a "new day is dawning in France" after the election of President Emmanuel Macron, its youngest head of state in more than a century.

"Everyone is in love with Paris again, and with France, and wants to be here," said the designer, who has lived and worked in the city since 1952, when he and a young Yves Saint Laurent became firm friends.

Lagerfeld's Chanel show under the dome of the Grand Palais, dominated by his Eiffel Tower, was a celebration of Paris, with a small army of more than 60 of the world's top models on the runway.

The designer went strong on Chanel's classic tweed look with subtly inset crystals for his winter coats and suits. Shoulders were much more rounded, and all the models, bar the final bride, wore brimmed hats somewhere between a boater and a bowler. As at Dior the day before, Lagerfeld went for more sombre grey hues, mixing them with black, purple and dark blue tones, lifted by the reflective sheen of tiny inlaid crystals, and ankle and knee-length boots.

*Agence France-Presse