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The Chanel’s collection presentation in Paris, the atmosphere  it’s was luxurious, yet delightful. The show was presented in a garden under the glass roof of the Grand Palace, located at the foot of a 38-meter-high replica of the Eiffel Tower. Built for the 1889 Exposition Universal as a symbol of the industrial age, the tower has become Paris’s most iconic monument. Chanel’s collection is opulent. The clothes are inspired by Parisian style. 


It’s all about shape, cuts and silhouettes,” stated the collection’s designer Karl Lagerfeld. “It’s a vision of a revived Parisian woman.” For fall/winter, Lagerfeld selected this venue with its impressive décor to deliver his vision of graphic elegance, which suited his presentation. Silhouettes incorporated clear lines that were either long and tubular or flared into an A-shape and cinched at the waist. 

It was a Chanel Haute Couture collection that was as finely engineered by Karl Lagerfeld and the skilled petites mains of the house’s legendary workrooms as the giant model of the Eiffel Tower that rose above the sand-and-gravel runway into a dry ice–misted sky in the highest reaches of the dome of the Grand Palais. 

It was a touching moment, for in many ways, this “foreigner” has defined Parisian fashion from the birth of its dynamic ready-to-wear to the hautest of haute couture since he won a prize in the 1954 International Wool Secretariat, alongside an equally youthful Yves Saint Laurent.

Karl subsequently went to apprentice with the theatrically-minded couture designer Pierre Balmain before becoming the couturier chez Jean Patou. From the early ’60s through the ’90s (as a current exhibit of Guy Bourdin’s images for Chloé in that brand’s newly opened Maison Chloé reveals), Karl made a profound impact on the city’s ready-to-wear identity in his work for that house. 

Karl’s collection showcased the skills of the Chanel ateliers and the amazing craftspeople—the feather-makers, the embroiderers, the boot makers, the pleaters, et al.—whose work brings his pulsing imagination and expressionist sketches to life. 

The emphatic coats (belling to the ankle or sheared above the knee) that opened the show fit through the body like second skins and erupted into great arcing shoulders above and bell-shaped skirts below—masterpieces of construction.  

The Chanel canotier hats—so like the ones that Coco herself wore in just that period to defy the fussy creations then in fashion—were made from matching tweed (and worn with every look, including the pneumatic wedding dress), and the heels of the patent leather ankle boots were half clear Lucite so that it looked as though the girls were daintily tiptoeing down the runway. 

The classic Chanel braid trims were replicated in froths of feathers in colors plucked from the flecked tweeds. Feathery aigrettes sprouted from shoulders, chemise dresses were frosted with subtly beaded Deco motifs, and great swathes of stiff faille and satin were draped and manipulated so that they looked like a river’s liquid eddies. 

Tilda Swinton summed up these skilled craftspeople’s contributions best. 

“It’s doing something that is both ancient and deeply rooted in the traditions of Mademoiselle Chanel,” she told me, “and rooted in the street. It’s a shame for those who only ever see the photos—or even sit at the show—but never have a chance to see the pieces up close.” 

The sketch for the penultimate dress—the Eiffel Tower–silhouette ballgown of tiers of pleated black tulle edged with giant feathery rosettes—was handed to the workroom a mere two weeks ago. “ If you turn back the feathers,”  Swinton explained, “ The backing of each is Eiffel Tower–shaped. Only the woman who wearing the dress would ever know that—or someone very close to her! That’s what I’m moved by, really,” She added, “  and Chanel really engages with that.” 

It is a wonderful collection, an ode to its origins, but for me not only Chanel, but the French couture. This is a glamour collection! 

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Beata Gliniecka ; Fashion is the love of my life. That's what I'm writing and creating do with passion!

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