PARIS, October 6, 2006 - When interrogated by a reporter from Agence France Presse after the Chanel show on Friday morning, Karl Lagerfeld used the word "today" no less than three times in response to her question. By that, one might assume that his emphasis in the spring collection was on making the label appeal to modern, chic woman and men.

On the runway, that translated into a series of short, short dresses mostly in black and white, ornamented with enough gold necklaces, bracelets, medallions and chains to set off alarms at Fort Knox.

In program notes, Karl included eight black and white photographs that he had personally styled. Three of them were dedicated to the men's line he now shows with women's ready-to-wear, and featured a series of T-shirts with an elliptical cutout mid chest, gold medallion dangling, feminine looking CC belts (all but festooned with camellias), and a series of XL-sized sunglasses. Of the women's ensembles captured by his lens, one pair of athletic looking sequined shorts was presented with a tweed jacket tossed over top. I suppose traditional Chanel goes as well at the beach as at the Opera - one of my fashion friends says she uses her tailleurs for warmth and comfort on long transatlantic flights.

For evening, tulle attachments were added to micro-short skirts, and of course it all worked.

Karl's longevity and expertise serve him well when it comes to modernizing a Paris tradition. After all, Stefano Pilati and Riccardo Tisci were still in diapers when Karl was busily designing Fendi.

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