‘‘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.

Karl Lagerfeld's new fashion show
Karl Lagerfeld's show.

Karl Lagerfeld installed a suitably polished wind farm in the monumental Grand Palais for his show for Chanel in Paris yesterday. In terms of scale, this was the biggest production of the week – there was more floor space, more models, more clothes and a larger audience. As an exercise in sheer power, then, it was unprecedented as befits a fashion brand widely believed to be the most successful in the world, though not one generally famed for its conservative carbon footprint.
Perhaps the set was a reference to the essentially optimistic, gentle, protective and beautiful nature of the clothes. Sweet trapeze shapes, moulded sweaters and tulip dresses ensured space between garment and wearer – modesty more than in-your-face glamour appeared to be the message.
Such things are relative. If the clothes – black chiffon dresses appliqued with silk petals in faded colours, optic white columns embroidered with garlands of flowers and the Chanel suit, predominantly following a youthful and naive Sixties line – spoke of innocence, the marketing of the money-spinning accessories confirmed experience. Lagerfeld is the most accomplished image maker in the industry, after all, both in terms of his work and glittering persona.
The Chanel quilted bag looked anything but shy, oversized and nestling in what resembled a pair of black leather hula hoops for handles. The Chanel pearls were the size of gobstoppers shimmering in clusters at slender necks and wrists, and the Chanel sunglasses went so far as to feature the house founder’s own silhouette – finished with more ropes of pearl again – at one corner of their frames.
“It was a celebration of femininity,” Sarah Burton said of her exquisitely judged collection for Alexander McQueen shown later in the day. And that it was, in all its guises. First came the exaggerated curve of a structured hip on a densely embroidered, wasp-waisted golden jacket that upheld the hourglass silhouette this house is known for. It was followed by crystal encrusted tortoiseshell caging and corsetry worn under and indeed over overblown organza dresses appliqued with meadow flowers. They were as sexually charged as they were sugary.

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