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Paris Fashion Week: Chanel's spring awakening

October 5, 2010 | 10:24 am

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Oh Mr. Lagerfeld, just when I think a Chanel show can't get any better, you come along and surprise me again.

The spring Chanel show for Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday morning was spectacular, one of those once-in-a-lifetime fashion experiences, with a quaint French-garden setting and a full orchestra, all under the soaring glass roof of the Grand Palais.

When the first look came out -- a black coat riddled with holes, and the models' eyes were nearly blacked out with smoky makeup, I thought we were in for something dark and stormy, perhaps even another punk moment, of which there have been several this week.

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But that was just the prelude to a spring awakening of pastel tweeds. Tunics or soft, three-quarter-sleeve jackets, some trimmed in floral print, topped short skirts in matching shades of blossom pink, sunshine yellow or salt 'n' pepper tweed. (For a bit of a Jackie O look.)

But there were also plenty of long skirts in keeping with the spring trend, one in a rose print with a smocked waist and others in dark, sheer layers, worn with belted jackets or sweaters.

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For evening, a white cocktail dress with black embroidery brought to mind an ornate iron gate. Another dress, covered in peach-colored feathers, turned model Carmen Kass into a graceful bird. But there was also a little black dress for everyone--both long and short lengths--with sheer overlayers, jet-black feathers and embroidery.

Chanelblog7 As always, Lagerfeld included plenty of novelties aimed at the "Gossip Girl" set, including boucle cutoff shorts, paint-dappled gray jeans and jeweled or logo-ed barrettes fastened to the models' sleek ponytails.

But this show was for all ages, which Lagerfeld made sure were represented on his runway, from a toddler to the fiftysomething model Inès de la Fressange. It was as if he were saying, "We are all one big happy Chanel family."

And when the orchestra broke into "Bittersweet Symphony" and Lagerfeld took his victory lap around the runway, he did look for all the world like the patriarch of Paris fashion.

-- Booth Moore in Paris

Chanel spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

Photos: Looks from the Chanel spring-summer 2011 runway collection shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times

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