Chanel conquers globe, Valentino channels art for Paris fashion

Tue Mar 5, 2013 12:09pm EST
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By Alexandria Sage

PARIS (Reuters) - An enormous globe rotated slowly in the middle of a circular catwalk at Chanel's ready-to-wear fashion show in Paris on Tuesday, with flags bearing the brand logo marking where the luxury label operates stores.

Only Chanel's creative director Karl Lagerfeld knows if the globe was a sign of global expansion or a geography lesson for the well-heeled crowd at his show, many dressed in the Chanel label that appeals to a global audience with money to spend.

At the Valentino show, meanwhile, designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli took a trip back through the centuries to present a serene and elegant collection inspired by the paintings of the Flemish masters.

Top luxury brands like Chanel and Valentino have seen their sales propped up by growing demand from Asia, in particular from China, and from the Middle East and Russia.

Chinese shoppers account for one-fourth of all luxury purchases globally and last year surpassed U.S. consumers to become the world's top spenders on luxury goods, according to consulting firm Bain & Co.

The head of Chanel's fashion division, Bruno Pavlovsky, told Reuters last November that the brand planned to end 2012 with 10 boutiques in China and 182 internationally [ID:nL5E8M8JYU] and it appeared the fashion house was on track with this plan.

"I can be very happy and pleased because when I started there were three or four (stores) 30 years ago, so it's not that bad," Lagerfeld, 79, told Reuters after the show.

Valentino, too, is expanding in Asia, Europe and the Middle East, helped by a new infusion of funding following its purchase last year by Qatar's royal family.   Continued...

A general view inside the Grand Palais where German designer Karl Lagerfeld for French fashion house Chanel presents his Fall-Winter 2013/2014 women's ready-to-wear fashion show during Paris fashion week March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Charles Platiau