PARIS -- When it comes to the world of luxury fashion, Chanel is the universal language. That was the message at the Chanel fall 2013 show held Tuesday morning at Paris Fashion Week, where Karl Lagerfeld’s latest, greatest piece of runway scenery under the ornate glass ceiling of the Grand Palais was a gigantic, rotating globe with tiny Chanel flags planted wherever the brand is sold, which is pretty much everywhere judging from the map, except for Africa, Greenland, New Zealand and some other places.
But don’t fret, Chanel’s luxury empire undoubtedly will not stop until it reaches the ends of the Earth and beyond. Perhaps Lagerfeld should be a space tourist? But seriously, the giant rotating globe was a reminder that the brand is unrivaled in the luxury arena for taking the show on the road, most recently to Linlithgo Palace in Scotland in December, to present specialized, limited-edition collections inspired by a particular destination. It’s a shrewd strategy to make a multibillion-dollar global brand like Chanel seem more special, and to convey a one-size-does-not-fit-all message to shoppers.
The look: Sporty and sweet. Coco Chanel’s classic design codes reworked into pieces that touched on many of the themes we have seen on other runways this season. Mannish, oversized coats. Chunky knits (one in cream, with front patch pockets and round knitted “pearls” at the neckline). The classic tweed jacket remade as fringey tunic, and worn over a hoodie for a streetwise edge. The new suit, which is a longer-length tweed jacket or anorak, worn with a matching tweed skater skirt and thigh-high leather boots, or jeans with tweed patches on the legs. Little black dresses with flared skirts and puffy sleeves. Quirky extras included colorful fur helmets and glittery eye makeup. As for accessories, there were chain-decorated biker boots, oversized quilted leather clutches, acrylic Lego-like minaudieres carried over from last season, and globe-shaped purses suspended from chain handles.
The verdict: Itemy, in other words packed with commercial pieces. Even if the show wasn’t quite as transporting as some of Lagerfeld’s recent collections, he always manages to tweak things just enough each time to keep Chanel fans coming back for more.
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