Thursday 6 December 2012

"Dressed To Kilt" CHANEL Métiers d'Art 2012/13 Collection


Mist was swirling. Snow was beginning to fall. The wind drove sparks from burning wood braziers high into the freezing December night. The scene was a Chanel homecoming of sorts, a show that dramatized Coco Chanel’s lifelong romance with tweed, tartan, and cashmere, played out in the courtyard of Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. “I like the emotion of it,” said Karl Lagerfeld. “This is about the queen of fashion and the Queen of Scotland who was also French, you know.”

The interweaving of the threads of a double history—gutsy, outdoorsy, layered casualness played off against high Elizabethan-accented ruffled necklines, doublet corsets, and ballooning sleeves—gave the “Paris-Édimbourg” collection a multidimensional groundedness and authenticity. All the girls walked in flat boots, wearing modern variations on kilts, tartan trews, and Chanel suits, the shapes recalibrated with short puffy skirts and the necklines tied in chicly exaggerated silk cravat bows. Broken down, there were tons of shoppable bits and pieces, too: chain-circled, tam o’shanters, bags shaped like miniature sporrans, hip flasks or poacher’s pouches, funny argyle tights, chunky Fair Isle scarves, and gauzy plaid throws.

For anyone with an eye for a Scots lassie, the show had another sub-twist: it was opened by the daughter of a Scottish sheep farmer—none other than Stella Tennant. Striding out in a swirling long red tartan coat with a gray cashmere sweater and muffler thrown around her neck, she was glowing with national pride. A born tweed freak, Stella is passionate about the craftsmanship of the old established cashmere makers of Hawick, near her home in the Scottish borders. Chanel has just bought the Barrie Knitwear factory in the town, ensuring the employment of 180 local workers. “I just love it,” Tennant said. “I’ve been modeling for Chanel since I was eighteen. This is like coming full circle for me.” 

The purchase of Barrie Knitwear secures another foundation from which Lagerfeld can dream up wondrous special effects, like Lesage embroidery he used to mimic Fair Isle stitching on mousseline twin sets for evening, or the cabochon jewels set into belts, chokers, and brooches by Goossens gold jewelry, or the pheasant-feathered breastplate by LeMarie all the “Métiers d’Art” this interim collection is meant to demonstrate. Visual resonances with the rich Celtic heritage of Scotland were carried through to the casting of red-headed models, their hair piled into pompadours by Sam McKnight (another Scot), who left tendrilly curls to frame pale complexions and pearl-drop earrings. “Karl sent me all these pictures of Elizabethan portraits of royalty and a photograph of an African queen with amazing cornrows. He never wants anything literal. So we put the cornrows in the back of the updo to make it look like today.”

Still, for all the surrounding spectacle with the castle, the pipers, and the glass citadel built for dinner, it was of an order to boggle minds the best thing was that the clothes simply served as a reminder of what’s made Chanel great all along. That started, of course, when Coco Chanel’s lover the Duke of Westminster initiated her into tweed hunting and fishing jackets and cashmeres, Fair Isles, and Shetland knits in the twenties she often purloined her lover’s clothes to wear on their Scottish Highland holidays. That a young girl like Edie Campbell can look so great, as well as so comfortable and at ease, when she walked out in a little kilt, with her hands thrust into the pockets of a weightless green leather coat and an elongated Chanel cardigan, is a testament both to her genius and Karl Lagerfeld’s knack for relevance.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: Courtesy of © CHANEL

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...