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A group of kids peered down through the skylights in the newly renovated Grand Palais, hoping to get a glimpse of the Chanel show unfolding below. The stunt, dangerous though it may have been, could act as a metaphor for the noble house. Eighty some years after its founding, and more than thirty after the death of Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld has managed to accomplish the nigh unto impossible task of keeping it forever young.

The look shown on Friday, cut off denim jeans worn with chiffon blouses, leather bracelets wrapping the wrists and clusters of chains tugging at the neck, oozed the power of youth. The thin, lean silhouette he has cast for the label speaks volumes about where it's at. More than just shot with Botox, Chanel has been recast with a new youthful face. "Fashion has to stay young," Karl said emphatically. "There's no other choice."

Also sharing the runway were several men's pieces, androgynous in nature, as in the skirt one male model wore atop leggings, or the redingote another sported. Again the cut was lean and mean.

About the only place volume entered the picture was in the evening wear - one bronze dress was allowed to flair to floor length after being fitted with a strapless bodice pulled together to display the tiniest of waistline. Elsewhere, camilla pins and strands of pearls paid homage to Mademoiselle.

While the history of Chanel may be as luscious and silky as a bottle of Château Margaux aging sedately in the cellar, the collection shown for summer 2006 was more like Beaujolais Nouveau.



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