Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2014: Chanel review


PARIS -- There was a Jeff Koons-like sculpture of a bouquet of flower pots, a glass case vitrine dripping with gold chains and a overgrown camellia flower-as-fiber-art.

Even now that we’ve come to expect over-the-top runway show sets from Karl Lagerfeld, the faux art gallery opening he staged Tuesday morning for the Chanel show at the Grand Palais was still impressive.

The walls and floors were filled with contemporary-looking artworks celebrating the design codes of the French fashion house, including quilting, pearls, cardigans and more.


The scene: Waiters with trays of colorful drinks and small bites. The Chanel-clad cult milling about taking photos in front of the giant Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle robot, the upside-down quilted handbag installation and other artworks. And celebs Katy Perry, Rita Ora (and oddly, Steve Harvey) sitting pretty.

The look: Rainbow bright, with an arty streak.

Key pieces: The Chanel suit reinvented as a thready fuchsia-and-black tweed, short-sleeve jacket with volume at the back, worn with a matching pleated skirt. Pink houndstooth, sleeveless shift dress with piped pocket details. Woven, rainbow-striped knit jacket, worn with multicolored miniskirt with side slits. Wide leg trousers in sorbet colors, worn with mismatched twin sets. White lace smock top over a little black dress. Black-and-white airbrushed tunic top and matching skirt. ROYGVBIV-hued, paint stroke print dress with white macrame hem. Graffiti-painted and distressed backpacks and totes. Painted canvas chain-handled bags. Haute portfolio cases. Booties that resembled ankle socks tucked into pumps. Sculptural choker necklaces and cuffs with sculptural single pearls. Made-for-shade sunglasses with visors attached.

The verdict: Lagerfeld’s theme was topical all right. This season’s runways have been filled with art references, most notably at Celine’s graffiti-tagged collection shown over the weekend, which was inspired by Brassai photographs of the Paris streets. At Chanel, it was more about the surface. Neither the art in the frames on the walls, nor the clothes coming down the runway did much to make you question or see things differently. But it was pretty to look at.


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