Chanel’s Paris Christmas

Printemps, the most glamorous department store in Paris, may just be showing the world’s wittiest Christmas window display this year, with an army of tiny Karl Lagerfelds…

Karl Lagerfeld (the real thing) attracted a huge crowd recently, when he arrived to launch the Christmas 2011 Printemps windows with Vanessa Paradis and Eric Pfrunder (the fashion director of Chanel), along with Printemps executives.

There are 60 animated puppets over 11 windows, showing Karl Lagerfeld as photographer, designer and director – flanked by the Eiffel Tower, his own Chanel aeroplane and a suitably stylish posse of flight attendants. The Christmas windows are the work of Jean Claude Dehix, whom Parisiennes regard as seriously as any artist.

The attention to detail is perfect, with hardly a puppet string to be seen – and every hair on the faux Karl’s trademark white ponytail is in place. His suits are cut as beautifully as any couture garment, too.

If you are lucky enough to be in Paris as Christmas approaches, you can see the windows until December 31st.  The title of this year’s display is ‘Dreams of Escaping’ and with just one trip on the Metro to Havre Caumartin, you can also escape to Karl World.

After that, you just have to find a way of squeezing past the crowds of delighted schoolchildren (Chanel fans all), but if you’d rather enjoy the windows to yourself, try Thursday night, when Printemps is open until 10pm – long after French children are in bed.

Karl Lagerfeld’s own childhood was spent, not pressed against the glass at Printemps, but admiring his mother’s “divine” celebrations, which involved weeks of planning and a 20-foot-tree, according to one interview with him. Thanks to Chanel, the spirit of a glamorous French Christmas remains (no matter what the Euro is doing).

The Chanel Christmas Windows, Printemps, 64 Boulevard Haussmann, Paris.

For more on Chanel’s Paris, read Justine Picardie’s account of Coco’s favourite haunts in our new book, The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to Paris, London, New York and Rome. Justine is the author of Coco Chanel, The Legend and the Life (HarperCollins).

Story: Jessica Adams. Video Music: Fly With Me by Elia Bel.



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