'New Vintage' by CHANEL Haute Couture
An allee of whitewashed Versailles pots, planted with gardenia bushes studded with Coco Chanel’s emblematic artificial white blooms, led up a grand Art Nouveau staircase of the Grand Palais into a room filled with white wicker chairs and tables set with miniature macaroons, evoking the atmosphere of an old-fashioned grand hotel. “I love the atmosphere of a Belle Époque tea room,” said Karl Lagerfeld, “very Baden-Baden or Marienbad, but the difference is it was not last year!”
This evocation of Alain Resnais’s elegiac 1961 film, Last Year at Marienbad, elegantly costumed by Coco herself, and Karl’s reminder that he is living firmly in the present summed up the spirit of a collection that he dubbed “New Vintage,” reworking Chanel’s classics in a way that subtly showcased the extraordinary handwork which the house’s ateliers and the subsidiary embroidery houses that Chanel now owns, are so capable of producing.
In the prettiest palette of storm-cloud grays (reflected in the trompe l’oeil “tempest” ceiling mural created specially for the show) and sugar-almond pinks, Karl showed classic Chanel suits and coat-dresses with their tops cut on the cross and their skirts on the bias, giving some added swing to the step. All was not, however, what it seemed. “All the tweeds are embroidery,” Karl declared. “Three thousand hours for some of them.” Whilst some were created entirely from looped silken threads and shimmering paillettes, others were sophisticated patchworks of color-block plaids.
For evening, shreds of chiffon and tulle and laser-cut fabrics were used for exquisite patchwork effects, and airy sheath dresses were scattered with three-dimensional gardenias or, in one instance, a snowfall of fluffy pink swansdown powder puffs. A handful of chunky jackets echoed the dress’s motifs in heartier fabrics, providing cover-up for glacial nights and the dash from limousine to ballroom.
Pewter Lurex stockings, and the platinum toe caps and half heels of the pumps, that gave the illusion of encasing the toe or heel of the shoe with ample room to spare, continued the discreetly glittering theme that literally threaded the handmade “tweeds." A brace of full-sleeved, black velvet gypsy-tiered dresses added some dark drama that evoked a model that Chanel made for herself in the forties, during the interim years when she closed down her house, but Karl tweaked the proportions and details to give a modern spin. As he said: New Vintage.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo Credit/Source: © VOGUE
Photography by © Yannis Vlamos/GoRunway
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