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Bright Clothes a Triumph for Chanel

March 3, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ Chanel’s winter ready-to-wear collection was a triumph Friday for bright young things _ and even for the not so young.

Beautifully styled by Karl Lagerfeld, clothes danced along in a white-silver space in the Louvre Carrousel that looked Japanese. The clean space set off the peppy-clean clothes, from white short furry skirts with puffy coats to dressy bright purple culotte suits.

Here was Chanel looking like Chanel, in some rosy tweed suits. But there were new twists _ like the bootees with gaiters under a lean, short and piped black and white checked coat.

Logomania took hold, mainly in the crossed C hose and bootees.

One original idea was the versatile use of new green denim _ especially in voluminous short skirts, shirred at the hip and quilted at the hem. This was handsome, shown with a huge-turtlenecked sleeveless sweater and quilted stole.

For a seasonal Ritzy look, Lagerfeld put in lots of soft marabout trim, looking excellent as a wrap with a beautiful white-black windowpane check coat. A full black marabout skirt was shown with a fancy black-gold pullover fashioned to have a chocolate-bar effect _ a striking Chanel original.

Glittery looks came out for evening _ elegantly young in sparkling flower embroideries on tunics, or a short, above-knee dress with geometric silver embroidery _ worn under a black-piped white tweed coat.

Colors like brick, raspberry and bordeaux kept the neat coat-dresses and trouser suits in a peppy vein. This wasn’t hip _ just fun and well-made clothes.

Hanae Mori’s collection, done with Pamela Mori, her daughter-in-law, was a refined effort combining luxury and good details. The flowing cashmere trouser suits with colored-braid decor on sleeveless shell tops or trousers were admirable.

The line here was long, with plenty of trousers and long skirts.

A sparkling tapestry was used for a trouser leg in an ivory pantsuit, or a short jacket in another ensemble.

Shiny wet look snakeskin-type fabrics in green, dark crimson, lavender in pantsuits or short skirt suits were suitably glitzy for today’s rich looks, discreet enough for the Hanae Mori touch.

One cannot go wrong with the gorgeous georgette or chiffon flowered wraps or kimonos flying airily over dark well-cut dresses and trouser outfits.

Claude Montana showed off bold statements in leather, wool, crepe. The beginnings looked all black, a bit dreary. But handsome long coats, pants, a few shaggy mohair jackets, and good craftsmanship saved clothes from the doldrums.

For several years, Montana _ a mountain of success in the 1980s _ has not shown, largely because he was bankrupt and bereft of backers. In this, his second show since an investment group bankrolled him, he shows that he is getting back to the top.

Originalities in the show include lean velours trousers like ponyskin, and a few shorts suits to offset all the long coats, skirts, flaring pants.

Sexier, brighter clothes came on towards the end, with red leather minidresses and high boots, a long skirt unzipped at the side, a ruffled, furry pullover for leather pants.

Paco Rabanne retired from his couture business last summer, but he’s still very much in command for ready-to-wear and took a bow for his show. Some good fitted trouser suits, and glamorous outfits like mirror-sequin minis from the 1960s still give the Rabanne house its creator’s imprint.

His audience wanted Rabanne’s chain-mail or gleaming metal stuff _ first created thirty-odd years ago _ and they got it. The teeny silvery shorts with a silver fringed tunic, a slinky all-sequin jumpsuit, a slithery silver mini for dancing were eye-catching glitz.

John Galliano, now a creative and sensational fixture for Dior, also does his own line. He laid out a show at the far edges of town that erupted into a carnival. Mambo tunes, mannequins with rooster or ostrich disguises mixed with their clothes, cat masks and more, all added up to a frantic moment.

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