Chanel heads up imaginative, spirited day of shows

By Thomas Adamson

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3 2012 8:35 a.m. MDT

A model wears a creation by British designer Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen as part of the ready to wear Spring-Summer 2013 collection, in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012.

Francois Mori, Associated Press

PARIS — "Don't take things too seriously," said Karl Lagerfeld standing next to a towering wind turbine inside Paris' Grand Palais, "especially not fashion."

Chanel's veteran designer, with trademark humor, thus summed up an important message of this Paris season.

The iconic house's fun, young collection headlined the penultimate day of Paris' spring-summer 2013 show.

The fact the show had nothing whatsoever to do with the several eco-turbines constructed for the event — no doubt at a huge cost to the environment — didn't seem to matter.

Fashion insiders were busy concentrating on the myriad 81 ensembles— which made this collection possibly the longest Chanel show in history.

A pinch of salt, too, may have been required Sarah Burton's ode to the McQueen bee, which mixed regal looking crinolines, 1950s silhouettes with bees and insect armory.

As ever, Alexander McQueen's ready-to-wear show was Paris Fashion Week's most original, living up to the spirit of the designer who died in 2010.

Trends on Tuesday included cutouts, as featured in a strong showing from Valentino — with Jennifer Lopez on the front row — and in Paco Rabanne's signature "69" dics that exposed inches of bare flesh.

Wednesday — the grand finale of a dense and vibrant week — includes shows from Elie Saab, Miu Miu and powerhouse Louis Vuitton.

CHANEL

Fun was the healthy mantra which infiltrated Tuesday's Chanel show — a bright and diverse collection brimming with great new ideas.

Silver bauble appliques became buttons, A-line skirts were playfully short, colorful checks contrasted funkily with geometric flashes, and feather fringing billowed exuberantly.

One model in a crossing "C'' swimsuit even carried a three-foot (nearly 1 meter) handbag.

A bold new fashion idea was the reworked bolero jacket with curved shoulders, often spruced up with inflated arms.

The wide T-shaped bolero silhouette spread onto sweaters and inspired many of the show's best looks.

Naturally, many of the brighter ensembles stood out, too.

Bright pink and blue felted oversized sweaters were accessorized to kitsch effect with huge pale or silver pearl necklace clusters.

There was a highly accomplished delivery of color palette also, which lifted one checked red-and-white A-line dress, with the top part sliced off.

It paired beautifully with a contrasting, yet complementary loose blue and red coat.

Another stand out piece was a white bateau-neck ensemble with check navy bands with a clean, slightly sporty vide.

Lagerfeld, who turns 80 next year, certainly hasn't let age slow him down: It's the youngest collection Chanel's seen for a while.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

Fashion is body armor.

At least it is for Sarah Burton, who tapped her fantastical imagination for Alexander McQueen to conjure up fashion week's most original show: Mixing insect-like armory with on-trend stiff bar jackets of the New Look, as well as 19th century crinoline.

If it sounds strange, it was — set to a backdrop of images of bees and honeycomb — with each model wearing a visor reminiscent at once of the 1950s wide hat, a cage and a beekeepers mask.

Have fashions over the ages, she seemed to ask, caged and protected us like in the natural world?

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