Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week AW 2011/12: Chanel

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Nightfall in Paris brought with it on Tuesday an extraordinary mix of classic tailoring, somber elegance, dark melancholic shades and boyish silhouettes at the Chanel show. Building on the apocalyptic theme of its ready-to-wear collection last March, Karl Lagerfeld continued in the same vein for his haute couture collection, nevertheless the darkness was more subtle here. The result was fantastic: the silhouettes slipped delicately into mystery and darkness through the lace-veiled eyes and the sheer stocking-like boots. 

The neat tailoring and clean shapes so customary of the Chanel House were executed to perfection and the details were amazing. The collection was presented as it is, with no further embellishments in the shape of jewelry or other accessories, the only extravaganza permitted was that of the shapes, some embroidery on the dark clothes and the occasional jeweled buttons. The clothes, so simple despite the work behind them, were in charge of telling the story, they were the main characters. As the tweed suits were gradually replaced by evening gowns, the strict tailoring gave way to lighter, yet still very structured garments.

The melancholic tone of the collection evoked by the dark color palette and some fin-de-si├Ęcle shapes on the evening gowns, occasionally broken by a few fuchsia tones, was enhanced by the setting. After playing with an end-of-the-world, post-volcanic-eruption theme for his ready-to-wear collection, Karl Lagerfeld envisioned something different for this show, yet equally dark and somber. He recreated the famous Place Vendome with its beautiful buildings and its roman column under the dome of the Grand Palais! As if that hadn't been enough, the pedestal on top of the column presented not Napoleon, like the original, but Coco Chanel. Talk about a vision! The pale neon lights depicting the contours of the buildings and of the column traced on a dark blue setting and the scintillating runway added gravity and solemnity to the moment, enhancing the garments, liberating the mind and spirit to roam free along with the silhouettes on the runway. The collection was impeccable, true to the Chanel spirit Karl Lagerfeld has been preserving and renewing ever since he came to the House of Chanel.

Choosing some favorite looks is quite an impossible thing to do when such a collection is involved. Instead of trying to do that, I'll just give you some pointers regarding some of the most interesting outfits. I really liked the tweed suits and the dark gown depicted in the photo above, I thought it was very edgy and modern. The dark blue ruffled dress worn by Ginta Lapina is also a great pick, and so are the white gown covered with a very light, transparent black shawl, the cut sleeves on the grey tweed suits or the last dress worn by Freja Beha Erichsen. But there are many more. I'll let you pick your own favorites unbiased!

Here is my selection of the best looks on the runway! It was quite difficult to edit a lot, but I'm sure you're going to enjoy every single look.

PS: The last white gown is a wedding dress with a beaded train. Exquisite!



C & M said...

wow this is gorgeous! I was outside one of the shows and it was amazing to see all the beautiful people! wish i could see this show! :)
great blog!

Sam said...

Wow! You were so lucky to be there!!! I was outside the Chanel show in March and it was absolutely amazing!! I even waited outside for Karl Lagerfeld for hours and took pictures with Baptiste Giabiconi :) But I imagine an haute couture show must be even better :)

Cheralee Lyle said...

Chanel is always so classic and beautiful! I think im more inlove with the new Givenchy though. dreamy!

Yajaira said...

too much in one post
chanel always great

Sam said...

Chanel will always be the classic and perfectly tailored style no matter what. I can't betray Chanel, but I completely understand why you would say you love Riccardo Tisci's collection, Cheralee - it's pure perfection!

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