Paris Fashion Week 2013: Chanel, a force to be reckoned with

Looks from the Chanel spring-summer 2013 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week.
(Patrick Kovarik / AFP / Getty Images)
Fashion Critic

PARIS -- Was the Chanel runway show going to be a wind-powered statement by designer Karl Lagerfeld on alternative energy and global warming? It certainly looked like it from the 13 enormous white rotating wind turbines erected underneath the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais for the spring-summer 2013 runway show held Tuesday morning at Paris Fashion Week.

But alas, it wasn’t a themey collection in the vein of Lagerfeld’s polar iceberg, faux fur extravaganza from a few seasons back, but rather a demonstration of the power of the original Chanel design codes, and the energy and creative output Lagerfeld has put into sustaining the behemoth luxury brand since he took over in 1983.

PHOTOS: Paris Fashion Week trends

With all the attention this week focused on new designers at Dior and Yves Saint Laurent, perhaps Lagerfeld felt like flexing his muscles.


The scene: Jennifer Lopez brought daughter Emme (not bad for a 4-year-old) and her beau Casper Smart. Kanye West was also front row. But this is a show where it’s easy to miss people, famous or otherwise. More than 1,000 guests were there.

The look: Carefree Coco Chanel as if she were still haunting the cafes of the Riviera today. Nods to 1960s style and bold graphics, but with a modern twist. The most dominant silhouette was a cropped jacket over a miniskirt or dress. The Chanel suit was remade as a boxy, rounded-sleeve white tweed jacket and short full skirt trimmed in gobstopper-sized pearls. A blouson top and bubble skirt came in rainbow confetti boucle tweed. Graphic grid check knit chemises and miniskirts nodded to the 1960s. A cropped denim jacket and denim shirt dress with pearl buttons added a casual air. For evening, a black windowpane-sequin cocktail dress with transparent top layer touched on the spring trend of transparency. And white sequin columns came with sweet, garden floral embroidery down the fronts. Floor-sweeping gowns were trimmed with rows of pearls. For accessories, it was all about chunky clustered pearl necklaces and bracelets. Fabulous Hula Hoop bags of quilted leather came with giant circular handles. And the spectator shoe was redone in see-through plastic.

The verdict: Light and fun, even if it did blow in a lot of different directions. As evidenced by the tweed fan club that turns up enthusiastically for every show, Chanel is a brand that must appeal to a lot of different people.



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