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Paris Fashion Week: Chanel's high-class barn-raising

October 6, 2009 |  5:10 pm

It was a Chanel show tailor-made for the fashiontainment era -- with a Hollywood-worthy set, celebrity guests (Prince!) and a surprise musical performance by Lily Allen that sent camera phones and tweets into overdrive.

Chanel spring summer What an unbelievable sight, under the glass ceiling of the historic Grand Palais, to see a barn with a hayloft, and Chanel's double CC logo on a wood post out front. That's right, Karl Lagerfeld was headed to the country, inspired perhaps by time spent at his new house on Lake Champlain in Vermont. The rustic, romantic romp was a rip-roaring blast even before a platform popped out of the runway with Allen and her band already singing and stomping their feet.

In neutral shades of cream, oatmeal, black and white, the clothes had a homespun feel, with lots of lacey layers, crochets and eyelets. The classic Chanel jacket was reworked in a number of ways -- in cream boucle with short puffed-sleeves fluttering with downy white feathers, or white ribbed knit with gold button trim. Skirts were A-line, above the knee and slit up either side, or softly bell-shaped in checked tweeds or crochet knits with flower details.

For evening, spring's sheer trend took a charmingly girlish turn, with short dresses wrapped in layers of tulle, embroidered with raffia designs or confetti-like sparkles. Other dresses draped in streamers of red, white and blue flowers-and-stripes print chiffon were as charming as homemade decorations at a small town Fourth of July parade. Chanel clogs, flower hair ornaments, raffia messenger bags and straw baskets rounded out the dynamite collection. But the real must-have accessory on the Chanel spring runway was a smile; the models were having so much fun it was infectious. And isn't that what fashion is all about?

--Booth Moore 

Photos: Chanel's Spring-Summer 2010 runway

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Top photo: Lily Allen performs at Chanel's Spring-Summer 2010 runway; Bottom photo: A model on the runway at Chanel's Spring-Summer 2010 show. Both credit: Peter Stigter & Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times