Pearlescent, light and clean. I'd chose these three adjectives to describe Chanel's s/s 2012 collection. What mind boggles me sometimes is the ingenuity and artistry with which Karl Lagerfeld is able to elaborate something completely different from the Chanel taste but still manage to unify it seamlessly into what we've all come to know and cherish from the major design house. How could an "under the sea" vibe be molded into structured tweed, casual, elegant suits? Well, that's part of the job requirements, I suppose but to do it as perfect as Lagerfeld does? How does a designer keep on doing it? By pushing his or her limits and I read that Lagerfeld did that by using fabrics and textiles that even he hadn't managed before. Bravo!
Of course, it is a given that there will be some very Chanel silhouettes, but that's something you look for in a very established and recognized label. That's the backbone of the house. With Chanel, we get structured tweed suits and dresses, but what Lagerfeld brings to the table are shorter cuts and more modernized silhouettes that don't stray from the classic but make them relevant, ready-to-wear pieces. Now, don't mistake the "under the sea" theme with mermaids. No. That's not what this collection was about. It was about the integration of soft, pastel colors, embroidery and touches to the look. If you must, it's as if the woman Coco Chanel wanted to portray had the choice of taking the finest underwater elements like pearls, muted color corals and textures into the mix. Strings of pearls clung on the models' waists, dotted all over their hair and faces (Chanel body modifications? Oh yes!), coral-like embroidered ruffles growing from the fabrics, metallic shimmer reminiscent of a watery glisten, and underwater creature allusive construction adorned every piece. There were even bathing suits in this collection! Think of an underwater Chanel fantasea~ (see what I did there?).
There were a few geometrical elements that might have surprised some people. Well, once you take a peek at Zaha Hadid's modern architectural structures, you might get to really mesh everything together and round up the inspiration circle that worked as Lagerfeld's muse for this collection. Everything from the clothes to the stage was clearly Hadid inspired. Clean, straight, and quite geometrical but still very fluid and almost in movement.
Everything from the girl's accessories to their styling was splashed up to the nines with fantastic underwater imagination. Their hair was styled with the wet look, their makeup simple but metallic and even their shoes... oh their shoes! Some models wore sandals and other little metallic booties. What really called my attention was the heel on those shoes: sea shells! But not your typical shells. No, not literal. And the same goes to their little clutches. Some were so artistically crafted, they were three-dimensional shells.
OK, I love this collection (obviously) but there were a few looks I didn't necessarily agree on. Some were either too literal or simply didn't seem to follow the cohesiveness of the collection in my opinion. They weren't that many, I'd say like two or three looks from this eighty-ish look collection... barely a squeeze. I'm specifically referring to a ruffled blouse in pink and salmon with leather shorts look. I'll post it below with some looks from the collection.
And quickly, may we just take a sec to talk about that runway stage? WOAH! Lagerfeld chose to present it at The Grand Palais in Paris, where he usually does. It's the perfect place to re-create any scenery possible. I mean, an underwater fantasy world, Plâce Vendome at night, a huge carousel (yeah, Karl did it before Marc)? Done! The models swiftly swayed through clusters of smooth white seashells and corals and the whole stage was surrounded by curvacious curtains that enclosed the setting in a white on white ambience. The clincher: Florence Welch in a Boticelli-esque "Birth of Venus" setting producing the most beautiful sounds in a beautiful Chanel gown. Definitely following the tradition of show-worthy shows that Chanel has become quite re-known for.
Check out below some of my favorite (and not so favorite looks) from this collection!
|Not so favorite look|
|Flowing ribbon detail is too obvious. Not so favorite look.|
|Hadid inspired clutch!|
Photos via Style.com