August 22, 2014

chanel couture fall 2015.

Karl Lagerfeld has always created breathtakingly dazzling sets for Chanel — from a private jet to a larger-than-life carousel, a Swedish iceberg to an oversized gold lion statue with a pearl under its paw, to a derelict antembellum theatre and a Chanel supermarket : Chanel has been a supermaison when it comes to changing the Grand Palais to create the mood of the season. Naturally for fall 2015 couture, the fashion world anticipated what could possibly outdo what Karl hasn't already done. And being Karl, he has once again offered the unexpected by unveiling something almost unheard of for Chanel : a clean, sophisticated, icy-cold scaled-down scene that was accented with gold flourishes and complete with a digital Chanel fireplace. “Le Corbusier goes to Versailles! Modernity with baroque elements!” This season the set was a homage to Le Corbusier, an 18th-century architect with a penchant for modern and flamboyant touches in an age where baroque designs were in vogue. A gold fireplace topped with a Chanel-embossed baroque mirror was the centerpiece inspired by the architect's Parisian apartment, giving the set an ornate feel amidst the stark whitewashed walls.



While the set was more toned down for the season, the couture was still as superb as it was before, each piece being a triumph of craftsmanship, construction and beautiful embellishment. Glittering gold and silver baroque embroidery gilded the Chanel ice princesses, giving them a wintry sparkle as they strolled down the runway, exuding a sort of frosted vanity in this luxurious palace. The show was centred around shorts, offering grandiose yet restrained looks that were made for both day and eveningwear. Starting with a bevy of stiffly tailored court jackets which were styled over "cyclist shorts" with an 80s reference, and this was followed by torso-fitting suits worked into geometric shapes with richly padded shoulders paired with none other than shorts. 


Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage

Neoprene crepe dresses were luxuriously embellished with gold sequins and beads, and molded {not sewn} gently into A-line silhouettes making them impossibly seamless and smooth. Le Corbusier had been the first to make concrete a staple of modern architecture, inspiring Karl Lagerfeld to introduce cement into this haute couture collection {yes you read it right} : in chunks they were made for buildings, but when cut into tiny tiles they became beautiful pieces of mosaic.  "Tongue in chic," he said, full of mirth. "Very chic."

Set in an opulent array of hues : black, grey, ice blue and dashes of red and gold on a base of white, the strongly constructed clothes were surprisingly without any jewellery, with the only baubles on show being 18th-century floral brooches embroidered as lavish trompe-l’oeil gold motifs. Uber-luxe peasant dresses were featured in brocade, velvet and crystal paillettes, while gold and silver leaves were impeccably embroidered on both frocks and the accompanying satchels. Flames the colour of smoldering embers were reconstructed in textured tweeds and wool, and exquisite beading was made into the shape of cathedral halls and even adorned full looks.

Photo 58 from Chanel
A palatial take on the bandeau dress sauntered onto the runway with statement-making fur trims and feathers lining its delicate hems and sleeves, adding a touch of flair and flamboyance to the otherwise streamlined Chanel winter silhouette. And being a couture show, there were a few pieces that  took the cake when it came to works of pure imagination : one dress had the likeness of a cloudscape with puffs of frothy baby blue tulle and feathers, while another gown was fully bedecked with silver iridiscent sequins making it shimmer like liquid silver, and let's not forget the cascading floor-sweeping cloaks that glittered in the warm morning sunlight. But of course never being one to forget his roots, Karl Lagerfeld sent out a series of quintessential Chanel classics : flare-skirted tweed coats, boucle jackets as well as tartan suits. Although the fabrics were decidedly heavy with multi-layers and ruffled textures, the clothes looked sleek, wearable and even weightless in the hands of the atelier seamstresses.
Photo 59 from Chanel

Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage
Sneakers were the shoe du jour for last season's couture, this season it's the gladiator sandal. It has been an unspoken rule in the fashion world that flip flops were a fashion don't, but that was before Karl single-handedly made it chic {just like how he made the sneaker into a cult item} again, sending out every Chanel girl out on the runway in none other than the deluxe sandals."The models can walk in those dresses like they're nothing," he said approvingly. Now it all made sense that flip flops were the perfect shoes for shorts and therefore perfect for this collection, and Karl kept it carefree and contemporary with jewel straps and black silk-taffeta ribbons. Sequinned kepi hats kept the models' glacial, spiky fringes intact while appearing in the same hue as the accompanying look, and these were topped off with mini flapbags and minaudières , adorned with silver and gold jewels, almost making them resemble an un-quilted Chanel 2.55.
The show was closed by a passage of luscious, ethereal chalk-white gowns, peppered with lush gold rococo embroidery. While the past looks showcased were each on its own a confection of purity, gildedness and restrained extravagance, the bridal gown really swept everyone away when it was unveiled. There it was, a shining image of femininity and glory as a pregnant Ashleigh Good stepped out onto the Grand Palais in its white fabric as if it were a church, nobly strolling down the runway as her long train trailed behind her, revealing the beautifully, richly embroidery of gold Arabesque patterns and lining of lush ermine. 

It was a striking moment : Ashleigh looked every inch a majestic medieval queen in this sublime yet elaborate gown, and this celebrated creation in the truest sense of the word, both in couture and an impending birth. The empress gown was specially made by molding "seamless haute couture" as Karl would say, making it an incredible innovation in itself. The elegant glowing white gown together with the bride's pure, pale face was without a doubt, the most defining moment of this collection, and no wonder that the audience could only be full of applause.
Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage
And as if that wasn't enough, when the large gold sliding doors at the end of the runway opened soon after, revealing twin armies of models meeting and blending together in the center of the runway where four interlocking-Cs were imprinted, it was undoubtedly a very powerful fashion moment. There was also an undeniable gorgeousness in the sense that such a spectacle could only come from ateliers used to mastering the impossible beautiful. Take lace and coat it with silicone, or turn rugged cement into minute artworks set into couture : Chanel constantly reinvents itself and youth-ifies Couture with finesse while doing it. 
Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage
Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage
Parties — Chanel Couture Fall 2014 Backstage
This had been the more pared down of collections from the house, but it was never minimalist, choosing to be visually simple yet architecturally avant-garde. Karl Lagerfeld proved that it was all in the details this season, with the exquisiteness coming mostly from the lavish embellishments, yet he somehow managed to achieve this with the same richness and impeccability as shows focused on flamboyance. Grand ice princesses wearing luxurious Chanel couture, who wouldn't fall in love with that?

What do you think of this collection?

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