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PARIS — “Aren’t these clothes the coolest?” squeals Juliet Hartford, a twentysomething model and heiress, looking down at her Chanel jacket, tweed skirt and matching boots. “It’s very schoolgirl-gone-wrong.”
And suddenly, girls not much beyond school age are finding Chanel very right. They wear it from head-to-toe and out to every party in town, including the annual vendanges wine-tasting party last week where Karl Lagerfeld’s groupies — including actresses Anna Mouglalis, rumored to be the new face of Allure, and Geraldine Pailhas — turned out in force.
“I’m in love with the style,” sighs stylist Virginie Dhello, whose Chanel addiction started at 19 when she bought her first piece. “It’s a little retro, with a recognizable code like bows, pearls and chains, but also amazing skirts I can’t find anywhere else.”
Lagerfeld, who celebrates his 20th year at Chanel this year, says he doesn’t design with any specific customer or age group in mind, but acknowledges “it’s interesting that these young girls wear Chanel.”
But while the designer always comes up with fresh, youthful items for the house, like the scratched leather miniskirts from the pre-spring collection, this pack of pretty young things is obsessed with his more classic Chanel looks.
“I love the skirtsuits, the pearls, the quilted bags,” says Catherine Aymée, another young Paris stylist who wears Chanel unfailingly. “For me, it’s very chic and bourgeois, but with a decadent side.”