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TheStreet Open House

Chanel Turns 100, As McQueen Turns Elizabethan

By THOMAS ADMSON

PARIS (AP) â¿¿ A hundred years ago, the legendary Coco Chanel opened her first boutique in the Normandy seaside town of Deauville. Today, the boutiques number 300 and Chanel spans the globe.

Karl Lagerfeld celebrated this century's skirt-suited success story Tuesday with an incredible Paris collection that had journalists gawping at an enormous globe right under the Grand Palais exhibition hall's glass roof.

Dotting the sphere were 300 Chanel flags, each representing a boutique.

"The spirit of the show was Chanel's globalization," Lagerfeld said.

But was the fall-winter 2013-14 show also a celebration of the German-born designer? He celebrates three decades at the creative helm this year, during which he's overseen the transformation of Chanel into a truly global empire.

"I can be very happy... When I started we had three or four (boutiques) 30 years ago," Lagerfeld said. "But it's not an ego trip. Psychoanalysis kills creativity."

At a combined age of around 180 years old, it looks like there's no stopping either Lagerfeld or Chanel. "Look," he said pointing at an empty part of the globe. "There is still space left."

CHANEL

The show's 79 varied looks brimmed with ideas, classic and new, and showed that the designer in his late 70s is still a creative force to be reckoned with.

Models, including Stella Tennant, walked around the circular globe runway sporting stylish new winter concepts in tones of blue, gray, purple, pink and black.

Zippable leather leg sheaths â¿¿ like leggings that start at the thigh and end at the ankle â¿¿ were warm but allowed thighs to be exposed. And coat silhouettes were cut away squarely in the middle of thighs so legs are visible even on those cold December days.

"It's romantic. I loved the coats," said actress Milla Jovovich, from the front row. "It's early 20th-century Coco, but he's made it uber-modern."

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