I didn’t think that Karl could outdo a giant glacier as the centerpiece for a runway show – but somehow he did. On Tuesday, Chanel unveiled its Fall/Winter 2010-2011 Haute Couture show at the Grand Palais in Paris with an “8-ton, 40-foot-tall golden lion, [with] its paw perched on an enormous pearl” serving as the backdrop. (WWD).
The inspiration for the lion is clear – born on August 19th, Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was a Leo. She loved lions and they surfaced everywhere from her apartment decor, buttons and even her gravestone. The centerpiece for the haute couture runway show is a replica of a marble sculpture from her infamous apartment at 31 Rue Cambon. “Gabrielle Chanel surrounded herself with models of lions in wood, silver, bronze or alabaster…[and t]he lion became a timeless biographical seal on numerous of her creations.” (Chanel News).
Chanel herself, felt a close affinity with lions: “August 19th is my birthday. I was born under the sign of Leo. I am a Leo and, like a lion, I use my claws to prevent people from doing me harm, but, believe me, I suffer more from scratching than from being scratched.”
The lion inspired some of her creations and lion heads were commonly found embossed on the buttons of her iconic tweed suits.
Indeed, Mlle. Chanel’s love for lions are eternal – her gravestone has 5 lion heads carved onto it.
Not only is Karl Lagerfeld an ingenious designer, he truly respects and understands the woman that Coco Chanel was. He stays true to what inspired her and he gives it all a modern twist. Of course, he is one of the few people in the world who has access to her apartments and archives (what I would do to be a fly on the wall!). I hope that his successor will have the same respect for Chanel’s vision.
Runway show & apartment images: Chanel News
Chanel Button: Chanel: Collections & Creations
Chanel Gravestone: Ballyshannon