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Paris Fashion Week: Chanel's big chill

March 10, 2010 |  7:35 am
Chanel fall 2010
Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld created a winter wonderland under the soaring glass ceiling of the Grand Palais on Tuesday, with icebergs imported from Sweden that were literally melting at the models’ feet.

As they trudged along in Chanel rain boots, dragging their shaggy fur coats through pools of water, the message was this: Global warming is not chic.
The Arctic theme -- show invitations came with a polar bear sketch done by Lagerfeld himself -- played out on the runway in earthy-looking patchwork knits, textured boucle shifts trimmed in folkloric fringe, and winter white mohair sweater dresses shaded with cool blue.

Fur was flying everywhere -- wild-and-wooly fur pants, waders, mukluk boots, and bloomers too. Fur trim adorned tweed jackets, explorer backpacks and chain-handled bags. But incredibly, it was all faux, or "fantasy fur" as Lagerfeld calls it. (Even I was fooled; in an earlier version of this review, I wrote that the fur was real.)

Chanel pfw fall 2010 With frosty hairdos, Lagerfelds’ ice queens wore winter white dresses that mixed beaded embroidery and faux fur, carrying clear Lucite purses that resembled ice cubes.

The topic of climate change is risky for a fashion designer, not only because of the environmental impact of apparel manufacturing, but because the traditional notion of fashion encourages consumption.

But what keeps Chanel so vital is that Lagerfeld continues to put the clothes in the context of the here and now. And even as one lavish outfit after another came out, with all the coordinating accessories down to necklaces strung with icicle-like jewels, the idea of investment dressing still came to mind in contrast to the clutter of fast fashion.

Because not only is a Chanel jacket made well enough to stand the test of time, but there is very little chance that it will ever look dated. Buying less but buying better. Maybe luxury could be eco-friendly after all.‬

 ‪--Booth Moore, reporting from Paris


More photos from Chanel's fall 2010 runway

More reviews from Paris Fashion Week

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Photos: Chanel's fall 2010 runway in Paris. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times