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Chanel revisits Deauville; Louis Vuitton celebrates 10 years.

Photo-AFP

Paris Fashion Week showcased a captivating fusion of fashion and film as Chanel paid homage to its roots with a cinematic journey to a fictional Deauville. The black and white short film, featuring Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Penélope Cruz, transported viewers to the Normandy seaside town, evoking the essence of Chanel's beginnings. Designer Virginie Viard seamlessly blended the era of Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel with the allure of the 1970s, recreating the founder's gender-fluid wardrobe from her "winter sojourns by the sea." Deauville's influence on Chanel's aesthetic was palpable, with floppy beach hats and seaside-inspired hues infusing the collection with nostalgic charm.

The runway spectacle was a testament to Chanel's enduring legacy, tracing its transformative journey from a licensed milliner to a revolutionary fashion house. Viard's meticulous attention to detail captured the essence of Deauville, from the salty, striped uniforms of fishermen to the chic sophistication of beachside madames. Chunky sailor sweaters, dressing gown-style coats, and strong-shoulder peacoats reflected the timeless elegance synonymous with Chanel, while soft pastel tones mirrored the romantic skies of Deauville.

Despite the poetic homage to Chanel's heritage, some attendees felt that the accessories occasionally overshadowed the garments, detracting from the clarity of Viard's vision. The absence of Karl Lagerfeld's flamboyant spectacles, renowned for their vibrant energy, left some longing for a more dynamic presentation.

Meanwhile, Louis Vuitton celebrated a milestone as designer Nicolas Ghesquière marked 10 years at the helm of the iconic luxury house. Against the backdrop of the Louvre's historic courtyard, Ghesquière unveiled an ambitious collection that seamlessly blended seasonal trends with a retrospective nod to a decade of fashion. Silver space-age eye banding, sporty Elizabethan ruffles, and opulent fur garments showcased Ghesquière's signature fusion of historical references and futuristic visions.

However, while the collection boasted standout moments, some critics felt that the thematic direction occasionally lacked clarity, with the fusion of ideas diluting the overall narrative. Structured decorative jackets, adorned with gleaming colors reminiscent of Asiatic attire, showcased Ghesquière's talent for merging couture with streetwise sensibility, while playful nods to '80s punk injected a dynamic edge into the collection.

Outside the Louis Vuitton show, actress and activist Célyne Durand made headlines as she was arrested by police for protesting the use of exotic skins in luxury fashion. Durand's symbolic gesture, presenting LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault with a half-bloody snake "cake," underscored the ongoing debate surrounding ethical fashion practices.

Elsewhere, Miu Miu embraced a playful narrative with a fall collection that juxtaposed childhood innocence with adult sophistication. Through exaggerated proportions, quirky styling choices, and unexpected fabric combinations, designer Miuccia Prada challenged conventional notions of maturity and elegance, infusing the collection with a sense of youthful rebellion.

Paris Fashion Week once again proved to be a showcase of creativity, innovation, and cultural commentary, with designers pushing the boundaries of tradition and redefining the future of fashion. From Chanel's nostalgic homage to Louis Vuitton's futuristic vision, each runway presentation offered a unique perspective on the evolving landscape of luxury fashion.

March 7, 2024 4:05 p.m. 12077

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