2007 October 5

Chanel - Paris Fashion Week Spring 2008

Chanel Spring 2008 Chanel Spring 2008
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(PARIS) For his spring collection, Karl Lagerfeld turned to a land that he has, in recent years, become all too familiar with: the United States. The result, housed at the Grand Palais no less, was an American-laden sportswear collection that moved with a sense of erratic solidarity almost from the get-go, when a slew of stars-and-stripes pieces--most in denim--came marching out on models who emerged from inside a massive sculpted black bow tie (or, as Lagerfeld put it, "a gentler Richard Serra," in reference to the artist).

"It's about proposals for life," he said. "I'm not here to make just one fashion statement; I'm here to make many. The reason for my choice of theme of stars and stripes and America is simple: the U.S. dollar is lower than the Euro now, and without the stars and stripes, we'd all be Communist or Fascist."

One could only wonder if the German living in Paris designing an Amerocentric collection had recently enjoyed a long meal with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in his Gallic/American love fest. Added to that was the show's other inspiration: the lives of Gerald and Sara Murphy, the wealthy expatriates who lived the life at their Villa America in the South of France.

Denim, what with this being Chanel, was no ordinary denim. Instead, silk was woven into the fabric, which resulted in a luxurious, light feel to the touch. There was a larger emphasis on men's looks this season as well, with no fewer than a half dozen male models parading out in Chanel's "men's" line. For evening, Lagerfeld did not disappoint his tried-and-true Chanel client. While the classic bouclé jackets were few and far between, what he offered was sheer skirts worn over boy shorts--to raise the laidback sportswear feel up a notch, no doubt. Lagerfeld also managed to introduce a new way to wear the classic Chanel chain: weave it in and out through tops and bottoms to create a vertically fluid effect that was slimming (just watch those elevator doors). For the woman who wears the pants in the house, a knee-length culotte that split as a skirt was a new take on the popular jodhpurs on the runways this season.

Accessories were, as one would come to find from Chanel, lustworthy and downright satirical. Perhaps the new must-have--a tiny quilted leather anklet purse wrapped around the model's leg, was an ode to the recently released from rehab Lindsay Lohan, who counts Lagerfeld as a friend? "It's the rehab bag," he said with a chuckle. And the multitude of pins surely cast a smile--or, for Americans, a tear or two--as they featured dollar signs and the Euro symbol side by side. And on the subject of add-ons, one would be remiss not to emphasize the strategic use of bows, an obvious motif of the show, that were placed here and there, and in one outfit sewn onto the shoulders in large form like oversized, outwardly protruding shoulder pads.

There was truly something for everyone with this collection; the Chanel woman for spring is just that beguiling.