PARIS - If art imitates life, then life is an oversized quilted Chanel purse mounted on a wall - at least for some.
That was the impression made on Tuesday at Chanel's Spring/Summer 2014 Paris ready-to-wear show, where the runway was decked out as an art gallery filled with contemporary art installations featuring the luxury brand's products and logo.
Oversized bottles of Chanel No. 5 under Plexiglas, huge canvasses bearing the ubiquitous double C logo and the iconic purse with gold chain strap provided a visual crash course in Chanel's enduring consumer appeal and the sense of humour of its artistic director, Karl Lagerfeld.
"I wanted a certain likeness between what is considered art and what is considered fashion but without the pretentious approach of it," the ponytailed designer told journalists following the show.
Left unexplained was the naked male mannequin on all fours supporting a tyre on his back that was adorned with the Chanel logo.
Lagerfeld - who turned 80 earlier this month and has spent three decades at Chanel's helm - did not leave all the art on the walls, however.
As Jay Z belted out "I just want a Picasso in my ... castle"on a soundtrack that shook the bleacher seats, Lagerfeld sent nearly 90 outfits down the runway, one of Paris Fashion Week's most ambitious presentations from the privately-held company.
In bright hues of raspberry, navy, bubble-gum pink and black and white, Lagerfeld played with new takes on the classic Chanel silhouette.
Built-in capes and panels that opened at the thigh imparted a contemporary feel to belted jackets and ladylike skirts, while off-centre necklines or cut-outs on sleeves revealed a hint of unexpected shoulder on otherwise demure looks.