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|Chanel casts aside French chic for a taste of Americana Dollar signs on sweaters and ties for the men and star spangled navy blue dresses, either cinched at the waist with red and white stripes or worn under a red and white blazer, for the girls suggested that the clothes were doing just that. Perhaps Lagerfeld who chose to offer up a Beach Boys soundtrack to clinch the Stateside mood had Victoria Beckham s move to the West Coast in mind. She took pride of place once again in the really cheap ugg boots front row. Regardless, it was a peculiar gesture and one that didn t stop there. Chanel denim swimwear, sun dresses and a cropped jacket with reassuringly large epaulettes, some of it printed with the classic Chanel quilting also paid lip service to this mindset. It looked very cute, in fact, and teaming the iconic Chanel boucl wool jacket (in red and white stripes again) with a pair of jeans is what the younger Chanel customer has been doing for years. The little black dress was, as always, all present and correct. It looked sweet standing away from the body slightly in organdy and more femme fatale when it was finished with metal eyelets with long strings of pearls threaded through. In a season that has established the classic Chanel 2.55 gilt chained handbag as the accessory for the fashion follower to be seen carrying, there was no shortage of updated versions. The quilted black lambskin purse that Gabrielle Chanel gave the world in February 1955 (hence the name) this time came positively huge with a brass edged porthole (yes, a porthole) set into one side, presumably so that madam can see where her phone is when it rings and such like. Equally extreme were diminutive interpretations just big enough for a lipstick and a 50 euro note, say that were attached to the ankle where to find ugg boots straps of platform soled shoes. Good for going out dancing? Perhaps, although practicality is unlikely to be the issue here. More stars at Stefano Pilati s show for that other monumental French brand, Yves Saint Laurent, showcasing quite ugg official site the most vertiginous spike heeled sandals of the week so far. Pilati has been designing this label for some time he recently signed a new contract and is fast re establishing it as one of the world s most fashionable names. In particular, this was a collection that was a showcase for the most brilliant tailoring spring/summer 2008 season, at least some of it crafted in nothing more haute than grey marl. More Americana, then, but it was the final, and more upscale, inky black interpretation that was indebted to M. Saint Laurent s classic "le smoking" tuxedo that ultimately stole the show.
Chanel catches the wave Politics Nation Now Politics Now Top of the Ticket Science Science Now Obituaries World World Now Afghanistan war Africa Americas Asia Europe Middle East Business Money Co. Top of the Ticket Readers Rep Shop Daily Deals Travel Offers Weekly Circulars Offers Deals Sports Gear LA Times Product See More Member Center Alerts Newsletters Jobs Cars Real Estate Rentals Weekly Circulars Local Directory Place Ad The surfing community and the fashion community are miles apart across the ocean of popular culture. So, when the two tribes one reliant on dogged individuality, the other on slavish conformism collided on a catwalk in Paris recently, it made for a good show. Sure, there had been signs throughout the spring 2003 collections. Neoprene mini dresses by Nicolas Ghesquiere for Balenciaga; hibiscus print board shorts at Miu Miu; black and yellow color blocked "wet suits" at Luella Bartley. But nothing as brazen as a model tottering in three inch heels down a runway carrying a beige surfboard with Chanel s interlocking C logo under her arm. "She could have used some lessons on how to hold it," sniffed Sam George, the editor of Surfer magazine in San Juan Capistrano, who has been surfing for 37 years. Still, he said, it s understandable that designers want to tap into the lifestyle. "The surfboard is the perfect prop because there is no symbol or American icon that better represents freedom and romance and adventure." But could any self respecting surfer picture riding it? Not likely. "The sport has a Pandora s box of image issues," said Matt Walker, a senior editor at Surfing magazine in San Clemente. "The more popular something is, and the more the mainstream market picks up on it, the more you lose your core image." "In the hard core surfing community, people look at these elegant brands and say that they are just using surfing and scamming," said Bill Sharpe, editor of Surf News, a tabloid based in Newport Beach. "Last year it was hip hop, this year we all want to dress up like surfers. But it s dishonest. To say you are something that you aren t, that s tacky." (Surf culture may offer high end designers the same sought after quality they found so appealing in the hip hop culture: authenticity.) Chanel has produced snowboards, motorcycle helmets and other sports equipment, but spokeswoman Anne Fahey said the surfboard was just a runway prop. Still, she insisted that it was real. (And why wouldn t it be? Burberry and Gucci have sold surfboards in extremely limited quantities for the past year. "They probably sold a couple, but chances are they are hanging on someone s mantel," said Walker.) But even if the waves will not soon be studded with surfers riding little "C s," the Chanel board stands for something. "That board is a real statement about the time we are in," said Randy Hild, senior vice president of marketing for Quiksilver Inc. in Huntington Beach. "Not in the literal sense that a surfer would ride it, because that s not going to happen . but in the sense that our world is influencing the runways." In some ways, the Chanel surfboard is the symbol of a long standing fashion practice the regular recycling of favorite themes. But some industry watchers say the surf trend is different than in the past, and potentially more important. "The last few cycles, it was just a trend," said Dick ugg boats Baker, president of the Surf Industry Manufacturing Assn. in San Clemente. "This time, it s referencing a lifestyle that s here to stay." Surfing, of course, has permeated pop culture from the "Gidget" era forward. It got another high profile boost this summer, when Universal Pictures released "Blue Crush," a movie about female surfers, who were outfitted in clothes from Irvine based Billabong Inc. "Now that surfing is on the big screen, it s a pervasive influence no matter what continent you are on," said Marie Case, partner and managing director for Board Trac, an Orange County based research firm that specializes in the action sports industry. "And it isn t just youth who are . surfing either." If designers are targeting the surf community, the move makes sense because the demographic is ever expanding, said Marshal Cohen, co president of NPD FashionWorld, a division of market research firm NPD Group. "One of the funny things about surf culture is that it evolves at a very classic short ugg boots young age, but those people don t disappear. It s a culture that grows in size and age." A newfound respect Indeed, it s been years since the "surfwear" category transcended the sport. The $2.4 billion industry, mostly headquartered in Orange County, produces casual apparel, plus stylish sundresses and jeans. Roxy, which makes girls and women s surfwear, even sells luggage and bed linens. Quiksilver recently predicted that revenue from girls products could exceed that from cheapest ugg boots men s and boys within the next few years. "More women are participating than ever before . and high fashion folks are selling to this market," Case said.