I was at the SF MOMA earlier this year and was happy to see a portrait of Mlle. Chanel in a photography exhibition of the works of Henri Cartier-Bresson. It shows Coco in her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon in 1964. I love how Chanel looks deep in her thoughts and it’s not posed and smiley. It just looks like Cartier-Bresson captured a quiet moment when she was reflecting.
February 22, 2011
January 25, 2011
“Fashion is about two things: the evolution and the opposite.”
Today, Chanel presented the Spring 2011 Haute Couture collection at the Pavillon Cambon Capucines. Inspired by the paintings of Marie Laurencin, notably a portrait of Mlle. Chanel. The soft pastel colors, especially pinks and greys were brought to life from the paintings on to the runway. Much of the collection featured day clothes with Karl Lagerfeld noting, “Life is not a cocktail party.” (WWD, Chanel Spring Couture 2011, 1.25.11). The collection featured lots of skinny pants and jeans – some worn under tweed suits. I like the pants on their own but didn’t love them under skirts. I don’t like that when hippys do it and layering pants under a skirt – even in Chanel Haute Couture – doesn’t make it ok.
The tweed suits, as well as many of the blouses and dresses, featured a strong shoulder albeit a rounded strong shoulder. The silhouette of the suit was also different from the traditional suit – some jackets were longer when paired with pants. Other jackets had an array of colors – some with lapels, some shawl collars, some without collars. The ever present sheer trend made an appearance as well, in the form of sequined sheer pants, sheer dresses and sheer tops. The softness of the fabric echoed the softness of the pastel palette. Though the collection included many day looks, Karl did not disappoint when it came to the evening looks. Mainly gowns, they spanned the spectrum of very full, to flowy to sparkling dress pants.
Usually my favorite aspect of the Chanel collections – the accessories – were kept to a minimum in this presentation. But the simplicity of the accessories made the ones present that much more powerful. The ballet flats were pointy and cut straight across the foot which made for a very dainty, yet sexy look. I love these flats! I also love the black ribbon chokers, which upon further study revealed that the ribbon was tied into the hair at the bottom of the slightly intentionally messy french twists. The black ribbons seemed to be inspired by the painting of Mlle. Chanel where against the soft pastels there is a black scarf wrapped loosely around her neck. Finally, the angled eyeliner, in navy blue and black, played off nicely against the softness and roundness of the collection. View the entire collection in the gallery below.
August 19, 2010
“Fashion passes, style remains.”
Happy Birthday Mademoiselle Chanel! Your memory and style endure. We miss you!
July 8, 2010
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.”
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
July 7, 2010
Each year Allure Magazine hosts a Reader’s Choice Award and this year, Chanel N˚5 won Best Classic Fragrance. This should come as no surprise as Chanel N˚5 has been making waves since it debuted on May 5, 1921. Perhaps the most famous fragrance in the world, a bottle of Chanel N˚5 is sold every 55 seconds. (Stephen Brook, Guardian.co.uk). No other perfume has gained the iconic status of Chanel N˚5 and it’s easy to see why it would win the Best Classic Fragrance award.
March 17, 2010
Did you ever think you’d get the chance to dress the legendary Coco Chanel? Me neither. But now you can! Stardoll.com is a site geared toward young girls (or those young at heart) who have an interest in fashion. Girls can either make their own virtual paper dolls or dress the likes of Lady Gaga, Cleopatra or Naomi Campbell. One of the role models available to dress is none other than Mlle. Chanel. Here are some of the looks I came up with… I want everything in the virtual closet!
March 1, 2010
Chanel has Shanghai on the brain for 2010. First there was the Chanel Shanghai boutique opening, then there was the Chanel Métiers D’Art Pre-Fall 2010 Paris-Shanghai collection. We know Coco Chanel was infatuated with Shanghai and would have loved to have traveled there. But I wonder if that was the only inspiration for the Chanel Shanghai collection – could it be that it was timed to coincide with the upcoming World’s Fair Expo in Shanghai in May, 2010. Whatever the reason, the accessories are amazing!
After the success of the Chanel Paris-Moscou Matryoshka doll purse, Uncle Karl has created a similar purse for the Shanghai collection. The matching drop earrings are adorable – I wonder if he used these little ladies on any other accessories? Lagerfeld also reinterpreted the classic 2.55 bag with large sequined palletes in red and jade.
My other favorite bag is Chanel’s rendition of the classic takeout box – with leather chain strap and all! The Chanel cuff is also especially beautiful and is reminiscent of Chinese pottery and vases.
This is just a little glimpse into the details of the collection and I can’t wait to see more!
December 3, 2009
Today Paris-Shanghai: The Trip That Coco Chanel Only Made In Her Dreams, a short film written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld, premiered online. The film opens in the 1950s with Coco Chanel having tea with the Duchess of Windsor who notices Chanel’s Chinese art collection and then tells Mlle. Chanel about her adventures in Shanghai. After their brief meeting, Chanel takes a nap and has a series of dreams where she visits Shanghai at different periods in history – the 1960s, 1940s, 1930s, 1920s and the Imperial Court period. I’m thinking that’s a clue to the periods of time that Karl Lagerfeld may have found inspiration for the collection – we’ll find out tomorrow.
The film is interesting because it’s actually filmed in Coco Chanel’s apartment but there were little things that irked me. Chanel has a french accent when speaking English as a young woman, but no accent as an adult…where did the accent go?? (They had this same issue in the Liftetime movie). Also, a big pet peeve was that they had Chanel familiar faces like Freja Beha and Baptiste Giacobini play Chinese characters. Sorry, black winged out eyeliner doesn’t make a person Asian, and is up there with Black Face in my eyes – I’m just sayin’. I’ll try to ignore the aspects I don’t like for now and channel my energy into being excited about seeing the collection tomorrow – stay tuned!
October 13, 2009
Each year Chanel produces my favorite collection of the year – the “métiers d’art” collection – where Karl Lagerfeld takes on his magic carpet to the magical places that inspired Mlle. Chanel and whose ready-to-wear line features embellishments “with the couture ateliers Chanel owns.” Two years ago it was London, and last year it was Moscou. This year, the collection is called “Paris-Shanghai” and is, you guessed it, inspired by Shanghai, China. The collection will also include a short film directed by Uncle Karl himself.
To coincide with the collection, Chanel is opening a boutique in Shanghai on December 3, 2009. The boutique will be housed in the chic Peninsula Hotel on the riverfront and will be filled with commissioned art. French artist “Jean-Michel Othoniel, … created a giant, swirling strand of glass pearls, echoing the founding designer’s necklaces.”
The layout of the boutique, designed by architect Peter Marino, echoes Coco Chanel’s apartment on 31 Rue Cambon and will also include an “ultra luxe” salon (don’t worry, if you can’t make it to Shanghai, you can visit the Chanel Ultra Luxe Boutique in Las Vegas).
June 20, 2009
A few months back we showed you the indulgent Chanel Métiers D’Art Pre-Fall 2009 Paris-Moscou collection and the coordinating Paris-Moscou nail colours, and now we dug up some more photos of the collection to share with you. If you know me, you know that I love all things Chanel, but this collection is one of the best I’ve seen.
Karl Lagerfeld is a master and staying true to the roots of the house of Chanel, while also injecting youth, fun an creativity into everything he does. I love that he really digs deep into the inspiration behind a line, researches all of the nuances, and translates them into elaborate, whimsical clothing and accessories.
The Paris-Moscou theme stems from Chanel’s connections to exiled Russian royalty and her relationships with them influenced some of her collections. I’m not sure if the timing of this collection was intentional, but this year also marks the release of a film detailing the love affair Mlle. Chanel had with another famous Russian, Igor Stravinsky. Coincidence, or not, the Paris-Moscou collection has a fairytale quality to it – they seem the perfect pieces for a young czarina.