Lessons in Americana from Chanel’s Rodeo

My greatest failing in life is not being born in Paris. As I cannot go back in time and send my mother to school in France where she would miss meeting my father that fateful night in her friends college dorm, and instead be swept off her feet by Jean Claude on a moped, naturally – but really I wouldn’t trade my father for anyone – I try my best to fool the world into thinking that I am French, despite the sad facts.

I took French language lessons in school and have been known to throw French exclamations around often though, and usually in the wrong context. I blame the infrequency that my hair gets shampooed on my Frenchness, as well as my penchant for carbs in the morning. I cut my hair short and wear it curly and messy as if I’ve never seen a mirror – let alone a brush – and also, what is makeup? (aside from a red lip, of course) – and I hope that gives me the French je ne se quoi.

My most ardent attempts at appearing French are often the ones made in my closet. I am brutally aware that the amount of effort spent trying to achieve such looks disqualifies me immediately.

But this past week something momentous happened. Something that I thought would never, ever happen, let alone happen in Dallas, Texas.

Last Tuesday, Karl Lagerfeld held a show that caused me to take pride in the sartorial traditions of America. While watching the ninety some looks walk down the barn-cum-runway at Chanel’s Metiers d’Art show I was reminded of the classic American heritage styles that I have long taken for granted.

Denim, for one, in the way of dresses, skirts, and skinny jeans was done in such an understated way that it felt classic and authentic and begged the question where would I be without my favorite jeans? The show reaffirmed my love for fluid skirts and prairie inspired lace and ruffles. I found myself enamored by the Aztec blanket sweaters and the use of the star motif to embellish dresses.

The wrinkled leather jacket and the white pleated skirt both looked as if they would fit right at home in my wardrobe. And never in my life have I had such a hankering for a pair of slouchy cowboy boots. The show sparked an earnest appreciation for the American dream and the clothes borne of that idea. The combination of the Western stylings and Lagerfeld’s bent for making smart, clever, beautiful clothing produced a collection that was very Texas, very Chanel and very Lagerfeld.  The merging of worlds was perhaps best epitomized by the classic Chanel purse chains threaded with strips of washed denim.

It may have taken a French house to do it, but for the first time ever in a long time I am proud to dress like an American.

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