Karl Lagerfeld celebrates a century of Chanel

THOMAS ADAMSON
The Associated Press
Modified: March 5, 2013 at 1:27 pm •  Published: March 5, 2013
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PARIS — A hundred years ago, legendary Coco Chanel opened her first boutique in the Normandy seaside town of Deauville. Today, they number 300 and Chanel spans the globe.

For fall-winter 2013-14, Karl Lagerfeld celebrated this century's skirt-suited success story in 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," said Lagerfeld.

But the show was surely 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 the house into a truly global empire.

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

The show's 79 varied looks brimmed with ideas, classic and new, and showed that the designer who turns 80 this year is still a creative force to be reckoned with.