“What don’t you just direct La Traviata?” Baz Lurhmann asked Karl Lagerfeld playfully after the designer’s rich and lavishly presented Chanel couture presentation. Karl the showman set his collection in a ruinous theater, miraculously imagined and realized by set builders, and placed beneath the giant glass domes of the Grand Palais. Before the show began, the strains of an old phonograph’s operatic recordings warbled on the sound track.
Enjoy the CHANEL Haute Couture fashion show at the end of this post! Love, Andrea
What could it all mean? When the tattered curtains parted on the stage, its broken back wall appeared to open onto a vision of a futuristic city: “the old world stepping into the new,” as Karl Lagerfeld’s muse Amanda Harlech explained, which translated into clothes that married the superb haute couture craftsmanship of Chanel’s storied ateliers and the craftspeople who work with them (Chanel has just acquired the city’s finest custom-pleating establishment, atelier Gérard Lognon, to add to the label’s portfolio of embroiderers, bespoke shoemakers, milliners, and plume and flower makers) with Lagerfeld’s modernist vision of textile innovation, from the washed and crumpled luxe silk failles to the woven and embroidered fabrics so elaborately built up that they resembled multimedia artworks.
“It’s inspired by kinetic art,” Karl Lagerfeld of this show that was multilayered conceptually, and literally. This meant not only layered garments boxy, tweedy day suits worn with broad hip-slung belts and with another band of suede underskirt showing several inches below the skirt hem, matched to the second-skin “stocking” boots (literally held up with old-fashioned garter belts), or thickly beaded miniskirts worn over ankle-length dresses. It also spoke to the subtle layering of fabrics, translucent tulle and organza, and embroideries of delicate tiny beads, like drifts of driving rain that created mesmerizing optical illusions.
That Chanel workmanship was revealed on closer inspection of those densely textured tweeds that turned out to be not woven, but instead were tour de force embroideries of shreds of chiffon, wool, and metallic filaments. Extraordinary gleaming beadwork also shimmered from the interior of the pencil skirts’ kick pleats in back, and from the “split” shoulder seams, designed to create the illusion of a jacket that had been torn apart, as poetic as ore in a mother lode, or sunlight through clouds.
Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories
Photo credit/Source: VOGUE
Photography by Yannis Vlamos / InDigitalteam / GoRunway
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