Saturday 29 January 2011

Pearl by Pearl ... CHANEL Spring 2011 Haute Couture

First impressions of CHANEL's  Spring/Summer 2011 Haute Couture collection ... 

People often wonder what makes fashion people cry at shows a little absurd to shed an involuntary tear over clothes, no? Well, here’s the answer: That eye-stinging response only comes once in a blue moon, when a designer manages to move the hearts and minds of women on at least two levels. A surpassing vision of unattainable beauty is a prerequisite; add a practical inspiration which can be translated into everyday wear and we’ll be so grateful, we’re gone.

Suffice to say that’s why there was a deal of surreptitious mascara-dabbing going on as the audience blinked out into the gray light of the rainy Rue Cambon after seeing Karl Lagerfelds superb couture collection presentation view days ago. A tour de force would be too crass a description for a show of such rose-tinted, shimmering delicacy a palette of pinks and grays inspired by the pastel-like watercolors of Marie Laurencin, who painted a portrait of Coco Chanel in the twenties. But the power was in the contemporary relevance of it: the way all the extravagant skills of the Chanel ateliers were translated into something both subtle and effortlessly down-to-earth in its inclusiveness of age, calibrations of occasion, different lengths, the whole lot.

The top line is the new idea of wearing a tunic shape over a skinny pant, paired with flats. It gave the models, in their satin slides and little boots, a gliding, graceful stride as they walked out in clothes which, at times, had the simple air of a T-shirt and jeans. Some of them were actually jeans: a pale pink double-breasted tweed jacket with a black trim, worn over faded blue denims, a black chiffon scarf tied around the hips as a sash a renewal of the classic democratic Chanel look of the eighties, made completely desirable again.

If that suggests a tilt towards youth and “street,” that isn’t quite accurate. There was romance, too, in the fluttering long skirts, but also in plenty of the chic and pared-down daywear in pink tailored dresses and light tweed suiting that will have grown-up wedding guests hammering at the doors. Needless to say, all this reality chic comes with an off-the-scale quotient of luxe. As Lagerfeld put it after the show, the structure of almost every piece is made “pearl by pearl, thread by thread.” It might sound silly, but close up, in the hand, the marvel of that alone is a sight to bring a tear to the eye.

Selections by ANDREA JANKE Finest Accessories

Photo Credit/Source: The House of CHANEL

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