La Chanelphile

August 18, 2011

Coco Chanel Would Be Proud of My Tan

Duke of Westminster and Coco Chanel on the Flying CloudEarly on, tans were déclassé and were a symbol of poverty — only those who toiled in the hot sun had bronzed skin.  Coco Chanel is credited with making tans chic.  With all her time spent on the French Riviera and on the Flying Cloud it’s no wonder that she became tan – and what Coco did, everyone else did.

Today, things have changed.  We’re supposed to douse ourselves in sunscreen and if we want a tan, we need to opt for the faux kind.  I was in Kaua’i last week and I’m happy to say that I am bronzed – the real kind.  I wore SFP 30 (and even reapplied!) and instead of burning, I tanned.  There’s no way around that hot Hawaiian sun.  I’m very happy with my bronzed skin.  I happen to think everyone looks better with a tan and whenever I get a glimpse of my tan complexion it reminds me of the amazing trip I had to Kaua’i.  My skin may pay for it later, but right now I’m very happy in my bronzed glory.  Merci Mademoiselle!

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Filed under: Chanel,Coco Chanel — Tags: — La Chanelphile @ 5:44 am

August 11, 2011

More Karl Lagerfeld Sketches of Coco Chanel

karl lagerfeld illustrations of coco chanel
Back in March we saw a sneak peek of illustrations Karl Lagerfeld did for a re-issue of Justine Picardie’s Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life.  I came across some more illustrations and I thought I would share.  I never get tired of seeing Karl Lagerfeld’s illustrations…

Source: Harper’s Bazaar

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Filed under: Chanel,Coco Chanel,Karl Lagerfeld — Tags: , , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:33 am

August 5, 2011

New Chanel Biography Coming Soon: Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney

Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life

Everyone’s going cuckoo for Coco lately.  She’s always intrigued and her influence is far reaching, but the past few years have seen a tremendous surge of media devoted to Mademoiselle Chanel.  In the past three years we’ve seen two feature films (Coco Avant Chanel and Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky), a made-for-tv movie (terrible) and several biographies including Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie and a re-issue of Paul Morand’d biography, Coco Chanel.  Lisa Chaney is throwing her hat into the mix with a new biography out this November entitled, Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life.

Part of the intrigue of Coco Chanel was that she was a habitual liar and her life story changed each time she told it.  Habitual liar is maybe not the correct phrase, but she was a master of creating a persona – one that we are all still obsessed with today so it seems she was quite successful at it, non?  Lisa Chaney would like to shed some light on areas that are otherwise clouded and she “claims to have concrete evidence that the designer used drugs, embraced bisexuality and had an affair with Salvador Dalí while he was married.”  From that sentence alone I feel like Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life, may read more like a tabloid than a biography but only time will tell.  Press copies go out in October so I will let you know then.  In the mean time, if you can’t wait, Coco Chanel: An Intimate Life, is available for pre-order now on Amazon.com.

Source: WWD

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Filed under: Chanel,Coco Chanel — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:31 am

August 2, 2011

It’s Official, Perfume Makes Women Feel Sexy

marilyn monroe chanel no5Ok, maybe it ‘s not totally official but a poll by a British drugstore surveyed 2,000 women to see what beauty tricks made them feel beautiful.  Not surprisingly, more than half of the women said their number one trick to feel sexy is to put on perfume.  This poll just confirms what Coco Chanel knew all along – why else would she say to “wear perfume where you want to be kissed”?


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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Fragrance — Tags: , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:03 am

July 21, 2011

Chanel Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Inspiration: Metropolis

return to metropolis vogue germany karl lagerfeld

It’s no secret that Karl Lagerfeld is a fan of Metropolis, a German Expressionist science-fiction silent movie filmed in 1927.  Last year for the February issue of Vogue Germany Lagerfeld shot a stunning editorial called “Return to Metropolis.” It’s also been said the he recently purchased a set of film stills signed by Fritz Lang, the film’s director to Brigitte Helm, the young actress who starred in the film. So, it would only seem natural to see a bit of Metropolis seeping into the Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011/2012 collection.

Metropolis is the most expensive silent film ever made – adjusted for inflation it cost about $200 million.  The film is about a futuristic dystopica and explores the relationship between groups in society (simplisticly speaking thinkers v. workers).  In the midst of all this we have a “mad scientist” of sorts who has created a robot woman.  (I apologize there’s really more to the story but I’m trying to be brief).

chanel LED light shoes

So where do we see Metropolis in the Chanel Fall 2011 couture collection?  Karl is rarely, if ever, inspired by just one thing so we see little hints here and there.  First, the film was released in 1927, when Coco Chanel was riding her shooting star of a career and many of the clothing styles in the couture show were inspired by the 1920s and 1930s.  The futuristic feel of Coco Vendôme lit up at night in lights and the models’ LED light shoes felt futuristic.  And the robotic Coco atop the central columns perhaps an homage to the robot in Metropolis?  We’ll never know for sure, but what I do know, is that Karl Lagerfeld likes to keep us guessing.  He gives us enough to come up with our theories but he’s always full of surprises.

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Filed under: Chanel,Chanel Haute Couture — Tags: , , , — La Chanelphile @ 5:26 am

July 20, 2011

Then & Now: Chanel Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Design Inspiration

karl lagerfeld sketch of chanel dress 1931

Karl Lagerfeld has adopted Goethe’s famous motto: “Build a better future by expanding on elements of the past.” At CHANEL he has changed nothing and everything, interpreting CHANEL in his own way with elegance and wit. He would have certainly met Mademoiselle’s approval, since her ideas also often created mini-revolutions before becoming the industry standard.

–Chanel Corporate

The above statement is on the Chanel website and it is eloquent and precise in describing Karl Lagerfeld’s deft hand in picking up where Coco Chanel left off.  You can see elements of Coco Chanel in all the collections but nowhere has this been more apparent than in the Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture collection, appropriately called Les Allures de Chanel.

In the sketch above, Karl lends his hand to a dress that Coco Chanel designed in 1931.  The first thing I noticed was the peplum – many pieces in the Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture collection highlighted this same very design feature.

Below you can see the 1920s influence of the flapper dress with low waist, straight silhouette and neckline with deep V detail.

chanel haute couture comparing coco chanel and karl lagerfeld

In the next image you can see a Chanel print that may have inspired the fabrication of the dress on the left.  The black fabric with pops of color seem reminiscent of the Chanel print.

chanel haute couture comparing coco chanel and karl lagerfeld

Finally, there’s the boater hat – the hat that started it all. The boater hat is the first hat that Coco Chanel started designing. She would buy them in bulk from the store and then customize them. Her simple straw hats were a fresh counterpoint to the heavily feathered hats of the day that made Coco wonder how women could think underneath all of that excess. Karl Lagerfeld knows the significance of the boater hat so I’m guessing that is why every model in the show was wearing one. An homage to Coco would be nothing without a boater.

boater hat chanel haute couture comparing coco chanel and karl lagerfeld

Unfortunately there are not a lot of images of original Chanel designs but I will continue to look for comparisons to see how Karl has taken the legacy of Coco Chanel and given it a current spin in future collections.

Image 1: Karl Lagerfeld sketch of a Coco Chanel dress designed in 1931, scan from Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie, p. 193.

Image 2: Left: Chanel evening dress, 1923-24, scan from Chanel: The Couturiere at Work, by Amy de la Haye & Shelley Tobin, p. 37. Right: Style.com.

Image 3: Christian Bérard illustration featured in American Vogue, July 1937, scan from Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life by Justine Picardie, p. 231. Right: Style.com.

Image 4:  Chanel wearing one of the first boater hats she designed to the horse races in 1910, Chanel and Her World: Friends, Fashion and Fame, p. 60. Right: Style.com

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July 16, 2011

Chanel Lace Veils: Then & Now

Coco Chanel : The Granger Collection : Topfoto

One of my favorite details of the Chanel Fall-Winter 2011/2012 runway show were the lace veils worn over the models’ eyes.  I love lace in general, but worn over the eyes it’s very mysterious and seductive.  While Peter Philips said that the lace veils in the Fall-Winter 2011/2012 show were inspired by cat burglars, the idea was not entirely without any basis in the Chanel brand.  In 2007, veils were used on the runway and Coco Chanel herself wore hats with lace veils attached to them.

In the Chanel Spring 2007 Haute Couture show models wore similar veils.  The 2007 veils were not made of lace but look like they were made from tulle or chiffon.  The main difference is that the 2007 veils had beading/rhinestones near the eyes. I can’t say which I like better – I love both of them.  The lace veils are very runway/editorial – I wish I had the guts to wear this out.  I need to be invited to a masquerade ball.


chanel haute couture lace masks 2007 and 2011

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July 15, 2011

Coco Vendôme – Coco Chanel and Place Vendôme

coco chanel place vendome coco vendome

As I mentioned in a previous post, the recreation of Place Vendôme for the Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture show was significant because The Ritz, the place where Coco Chanel laid her head down to sleep is located in Place Vendôme.  It was a place that she was not only familiar with, but she lived there (she spent her days and entertained at 31 Rue Cambon but slept at The Ritz).  The show invitation gave us a preview of the set of the show which was a recreation of Place Vendôme complete with tower – except the statue of Napoleon was replaced with a robotic Coco Chanel (Metropolis inspiration post to come soon!).

Chanel News posted some more details about the historical significance of Place Vendôme that I’m re-posting here:

“Chanel and Place Vendôme are very linked. She lived in the Ritz, now there is a Jewelry shop, it’s very Paris, there are many photos of her on the place Vendôme. The big site of the Ritz is also still the Ritz, a part of the place Vendôme.” Karl Lagerfeld

From the 1920s onwards, Mademoiselle Chanel refused to “settle down” and stayed at the Ritz Hotel occasionally before she decided in 1937 to move in and rent a suite on the third floor.

Place Vendôme was one of her sources of inspiration. The octagonal cap of her first perfume, Chanel N°5 recalls its geometry and proportions. Later on, the Première watch equally reminds of this aesthetic.

Today, directly facing her suite at the Ritz is the Chanel Fine Jewelry boutique which opened at number 18 in 1997.

Photo: 1937 – Gabrielle Chanel at the balcony of her suite at the Ritz Hotel, Paris © Photo Roger Schall / Collection Schall

chanel fall-winter 2011/2012 haute couture show invitation

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July 6, 2011

Chanel Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Collection: Les Allures de Chanel

Chanel Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture Collection: Les Allures de ChanelThe Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture collection, called Les Allures de Chanel, was an homage to Mademoiselle and her mysterious charm. The Grand Palais was recreated into Coco Vendôme, a dark recreation of Place Vendôme, the home of The Ritz where Coco Chanel lived. There was an eery Film Noir mood with the set cast in black with neon lights outlining the structure and windows. Sitting high atop the center column was a robotic version of Coco herself, replacing the statue of Napolean that you would find at Place Vendôme. Models walked around the square – some say the shape that inspired the Chanel N°5 bottle – amid lampposts as if taking a late night stroll.

For Chanel’s Fall-Winter 2011/2012 Haute Couture collection it seems Karl Lagerfeld set out to answer one question: How many ways can I design a peplum? The answer is a collection that shows a vast array in many fabrics. The peplum was popular in the 1940s – the era of Film Noir‘s hey day.  Cascading, layered, tweed and beaded.  Any kind of peplum you could imagine was present.  My favorite was one worn by Stella Tenant (pictured above) with layered pieces of fabric that were all hand cut.  The peplum curves were echoed in rounded shoulders.

In contrast to the curves of the peplum drawing attention to the waist, we saw straight styles that eliminated the waist made popular in the 1920s, notably by Coco Chanel.  Many dresses in fact seemed directly inspired by collections designed by Gabrielle Chanel (stay tuned for an upcoming post with images!).  In addition to the straight dresses, another early Chanel reference was the boater hats that all of the models wore – a style that Chanel also wore and popularized.  Karl took us from the 1920s, to the 1940s and then to the 1950s when she returned to the world of fashion and gave us her infamous tweed suits.

Les Allures de Chanel has something for every Chanelphile to appreciate and admire.  I myself never tire of seeing all of the exquisite detail that goes into every item.  Even pieces that look simple are deceptively so.  That Karl can make something so intricate look simple is a testament to his genius.  I especially loved the lace over the eyes – something we’ve seen before in the Spring 2007 Chanel Haute Couture show – but something I don’t tire of.  From what I could see there was a seriously smokey eye underneath the lace veil – something that goes perfectly well with the Femme Fatale / Film Noir feel to the collection.  More to come soon on the set, inspiration and details of the collection.  For now, enjoy all of the images and videos…

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June 30, 2011

Purrrrrrrr…Freja Beha Meows for the Camera

chanel fall winter 2011 2012 ad campaignEarlier this month some images of the Fall-Winter 2011/12 ad campaign were leaked onto the net and Karl Lagerfeld claimed that they were stolen.  The big to-do about the images was because of the dream team that created them – styled by Carine Roitfeld, shot by Karl Lagerfeld and starring Karl’s muse Freja Beha.  The official images have just begun to surface online thanks to some scans from Northern Star on The Fashion Spot.

chanel fall winter 2011 2012 ad campaignIn the first image we see Freja as feline with Chanel camellias as ears – so adorable!  In the second image we see Freja with disheveled hair and very plain makeup.  She’s staring squarely into the camera and has French writing on her face:  “Il n’y a pas de mode si elle ne descend pas dans la rue!” The famous line is one of Coco Chanel’s most quoted sayings, which in English is:  “Fashion does not exist unless it goes down into the streets.” I love the simplicity of this photo and how it highlights a Chanel truism in a unique way.  Carine Roitfeld and Karl Lagerfeld make a great team and I hope that this is not the last we see of this dynamic duo.

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