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Coco Chanel leads Lagerfeld down the unbridled past

model January 21, 1997
Web posted at: 3:45 a.m. EST

From Correspondent Elsa Klensch

PARIS (CNN) -- The horseback-riding days of designer Coco Chanel some 70 years ago -- they're the inspiration for the spring Chanel collection from Paris designer Karl Lagerfeld. (232 sec. /1.3M QuickTime movie)movie icon

Lagerfeld says Chanel liked men's tailored jodpurs, so he designs the collection around that look.

Riding jackets also play an important part in Lagerfeld's theme. In fact, the new Chanel jackets are styled after traditional riding coats. Lagerfeld makes them long and short, but always nipped at the waist.

"You know, when Chanel was young she was a very good horsewoman," Lagerfeld said. "So there were many photos of her wearing jodpurs, riding pants, even amazon skirts, and I tried to make modern look with that look."


Tweeds, organzas and silks are some of Lagerfeld's favorite fabrics this spring.

"There's a new way to do the Chanel suit, which means you have a coat dress but it's tight, tight, tight on the upper body," said Lagerfeld. "Before it used to be the blouse and the lining, now it's a petty coat and the lining. You know it's a Chanel suit upside down."

Lagerfeld is always experimenting. One of his new creations is a "T-short."


"I made something what is short and a T-shirt. It's a little thing with a string, a little string belt in the waist, you can wear, and at the same time a blouse," said Lagerfeld.

Prints are prominent with flowers on heavy cotton, like printed jeans.

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Organza rules the evening in Lagerfeld's spring Chanel collection. Dresses and jackets are both fashioned from the sheer, glamorous fabric. The collection's finale is a barrage of iced embroidery meant to hide the seams in a completely new fabric.

Said Lagerfeld: "They are like evening suits ... in a material what is a cellophane crushed velvet in beautiful colors -- like ice cream."


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