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Friday, October 3, 2008

Paris Fashion Week: Chanel

Pia Catton...

Karl Lagerfeld is known to be a music obsessive. And at the show today, the only thing that topped his guitar case made of white Chanel quilting was a pair Elvis sunglasses with plastic sideburns.

But the two models-as-rockers were only one part of the tableau. To the pop strains of "Our House" by Madness, models emerged from a giant replica of the house of Chanel at 31 rue Cambon. After leaving the façade, they walked down a gray runway painted to resemble a sidewalk. And the collection seemed to reflect the catch-all democracy of the street. There were classic suits (some in blown-out proportions) for the ladies, sweaters and leggings for les jeunes filles and a sublime gray evening gown for the princesses. Even a group of gents emerged, looking ever so Karl-like with their jeans, tuxedo jackets and high collars.

With the natural light flowing in from the glass ceilings of the Grand Palais, the show looked every bit the ideal day: a street of chic where everyone is coming from or going to Chanel.

Lagerfeld has a way of celebrating the tradition of Chanel without devolving into brand narcissism, if such a thing exists. After last year's carousel of giant-sized Chanel objects, this was an homage to—with apologies to Led Zeppelin—"Houses of the Holy."

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