Washed out: Anna Wintour and her daughter Bee under umbrellas at the show Chanel survives English weather Hilary Alexander reports on torrential rain at the Chanel haute couture show in Paris Monsoon conditions threatened to scupper the Chanel haute couture show in Paris yesterday. Torrential rain thundered down on a tented encampment in the grounds of a former royal hunting lodge on the outskirts of the city, reducing the ground to a quagmire, the gravel catwalk to a footbath and dozens of pairs of Manolos to sorry lumps of sodden satin. Ushers wore blue plastic bags over their shoes, Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of American Vogue, and her daughter Bee, joined the brolly-chic brigade and security staff rushed with Chanel umbrellas to shield the hairdos of celebrities such as Vanessa Paradis and Fergie of the Black-Eyed Peas. Engleesh weather, muttered a drenched Frenchwoman negotiating the waterlogged turf. But the show must go on and nothing could dampen the spirit of this Chanel couture collection for autumn/winter 2007/08, devised by the couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, as a blend of medieval silhouettes and the delicate, colours of a Fragonard painting. Lagerfelds strength and determination was obviously buoyed by the knowledge this was his 50th couture collection, marking a quarter of a century with the world-famous Chanel maison. Undeterred by the weather, which had thankfully gone from downpour to drizzle by the time the show began, the models picked their way delicately through the puddles, the fact the hems of their lavishly-embellished silken gowns, worth a conservative 30,000 pounds sterling apiece, were trailing in the muddy gravel of no noticeable concern. The classic Chanel suit appeared in the Jeanne dArc style Lagerfeld has explored before, as a tabard, fitted tunic or double-breasted coat over slim skirt and thigh-high boots, ablaze with rivets and knuckle-duster beading. The suits and coats came in fine, jewel-bright tweeds, many of them from the tiny specialist mills of Laurent Garigue in Yorkshire, and some interwoven with pheasant feathers or bristling with studs, jewels and sequins. Alternately, the tailoring took an equestrian turn when vintage-style riding jackets, encrusted with multi-coloured beading on cuffs and folded peplums, came with long, dressage skirts. The feisty feel of the clothes, accessorized with gauntlet gloves, chain-mail and beaded silk-net hoods, and bird-of-prey, feathered head-dresses, was perfectly in keeping with the setting which resembled a jousting field with Chanel flags fluttering like battle pennants. But the gentle mood of idealized mid-18th century paintings of bucolic sweetness was evident in evening gowns which came in frosted pastel shades of celadon, seashell-pink, lavender, and birds- egg blues, strewn with crystals and sequins. The designs for after-dark displayed a new silhouette a fitted-to-the-body slim shift or column which featured rippling, chiffon wings of fabric inserted, like panniers, along the sides of the torso, or were detailed with fluttering feathers. Attention was constantly drawn to the heads, swathed in hoods like knights of old, their eyes defined by cats whiskers make-up or hidden behind heavily-bejewelled sunglasses. Despite the downpour, even the bride wore sunglasses.