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Coco Rocks, Versailles Rolls in Latest Chanel Cruise

By Godfrey Deeny

Fashion Wire Daily - Paris - Coco Chanel never really dressed rock stars; yet rock and roll at its most insouciant and innocent was the cry of the latest cruise collection by the house she founded, a show staged amid much pageantry at the world's most most famous chateau.

Presented before spouting French Renaissance's fountains, this spring 2013 collection from Chanel, staged Monday, May 14, at Versailles, was a revolutionary statement, taking cruise far from the sandy beachfront to a sunset rock festival backstage cocktail.

Chanel's couturier Karl Lagerfeld fused fistfuls of musical movements from America and Britain in single looks. Chanel's little black jacket became punk rocker on tour in patent leather, supporting a hippie dandy summer Love-In broad brim straw hat, New Romantic multi-layered skirt in a Punk graffiti print, Heavy Metal wristbands and Rockabilly brothel creepers sneakers. Lagerfeld's halter mini dresses were of jacquard and his curvy cocktails of psychedelic silk.

Made in a palette of light lime, washed out purple and coral pink; embellished with belts, chokers, necklaces and brooches, this knowing rocker style looked all the better splashed by the fountains and seen under rapidly moving clouds and a white-blue sky.

"There is nothing more French than Versailles. So Chanel seems right here. It's the ultimate destination, so is Chanel," quipped the designer, dressed in gingham tartan shirt and matching tie, green frock coat and fingerless gloves.

Never before has Chanel - the bell wether show in cruise, a season whose commercial importance has exploded in the past half decade - presented clothes quite so sophisticated and immaculately embroidered as this season.

It's easy to forget that Chanel was a real fashion revolutionary, who freed women from the cage of restricted 19th century corsets, whose first liberating step were easy-to-fit jerseys dresses. Yet this show's second look was a corset dress, the tough shape defined by armor made of fabric buds. This November, when the first outfits from this show will hit store shelves, Lagerfeld wants women to go out in curvy, nipped at the waist dresses.

Cruise, a collection that frequently stays in boutiques for seven months, longer than either spring or summer, now accounts for up to 30 percent of many houses' revenues, and its influence on trends is also immense. Particularly this show.

If the collection had any key material it was denim. Again, Chanel detested the fabric, the arrival of jeans and the birth of alternative culture.

"Coco Chanel was wrong about jeans, which was very rare. But she was a lady of a certain age, so I think we can forgive her that. No? She did get a great deal right," said Lagerfeld.

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