Farewell, Karl. Chanel AW19

Chalet Camelia. Winter wonderland. Houndstooth coats and tweed hats. Luxe knits and eternal CC logo. Snowball skirts and Choupette fluffiness. Penelope Cruz, Cara Delevigne, Adesuwa, Maria Carla Boscono, Mica Arganaraz, Kaia Gerber, Anna Ewers, Adut Akech and the Chanel girls. Thousand of tears dropped, from Michel Gaubert’s minute of silence to the model’s finale walk (some couldn’t hold the tears). But you surely know all this.

I doubt Karl Lagerfeld would want his last show to be a fussy, overemotional event. His last show was exactly how he planned it to be: as if it was his next collection for Chanel, another fantasy. “Oh! It’s like walking in a painting!” Farewell to the visionnaire, the most prolific, joyous, assertive and energetic designer the world has known, whether you agree with this or not. But those are facts. What will next seasons look and feel like without him? I’ve got no idea. It seemed like he was always there. On the show’s invitation there was Lagerfeld’s last illustration, captioned: “the beat goes on!“. He wanted it to go on, so let’s all look forward to Virgine Viard’s future for Chanel.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Last of Karl. Fendi AW19

The news of Karl Lagerfeld’s passing away broke more than a week ago, and writing about his very final collection for Fendi seems like a struggle of using the right tense. It’s unbelievable he’s no longer here, with us. I always thought Karl will be present, forever. And just like that, it’s a season without him and his guaranteed, confident presence. Fendi’s autumn-winter 2019 was a tribute that wasn’t entirely a tribute, since Lagerfeld worked on majority of the collection – even though he was aware that his health is dangerously stumbling. After the models walked the runway, Silvia Venturini Fendi took a grieving bow. Karl’s last instruction given to Silvia was: “I want the bow” at the neck of the opening look. That was a nod to his own, unmistakable look. It’s difficult to write about the clothes from this collection as if this was just another Fendi collection. There was lightness in the pleated skirts. There was impressive craftsmanship involved, like the laser-cut “lattice” jackets and dresses. And, of course, there was the FF type face used on pretty much everything. It came from Karl’s calligraphy for the house from 1981. The models – most of them owe the designer their success by being his Fendi or Chanel muses – were visibly very emotional, but they walked their best, for Karl. Since 1965, he’s been at the helm of the brand – it’s probably the longest relationship between a brand and a designer in history – and now he’s gone. Venturini Fendi is taking the lead of the brand’s creative direction, but let’s leave the questions regarding the future of the brand for later. Rome, the city were Fendi was born, is in mourning: the brand’s flagship store on Via Condotti covered all of its window displays with Karl’s sketches of his designs for the house. Chanel faces the painful loss too, so does Paris.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Egypt in NYC. Chanel Pre-Fall 2019

Chanel‘s Métiers d’Art shows are the only ones I look at. I love the craftsmanship involved here – it’s different level comparing to the ridiculous ready-to-wear collections, but looks more wearable than in the couture outings. This time, Karl Lagerfeld took his guests to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to pull off an Ancient Egypt-inspired collection. To be honest, most of the clothes looked hideous and even the beauty of the surrounding tombstones and artifacts couldn’t hide this fact. BUT. Some of the details were impressive. The Amarna-inspired make-up. The gold-painted legs of every model. And the opulent appreciation of jewels and everything that’s shiny – a feature of every Egyptian king and queen. Would today’s Nefertiti dress in a Chanel tweed jacket made out of golden threads? Absolutely yes. But will real Chanel customers be able to wear any of this without looking ‘dressed up’ for a theme party? Who knows.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hamburg. Chanel Pre-Fall 2018

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I adore Chanel‘s Métiers d’Art shows (which work as pre-falls) for the fact they really are about the clothes, not some temporary venues built in the Parisian Grand Palais. Well, the place of yesterday’s fashion show was more than important for Karl Lagerfeld – it was Hamburg, a port city in Germany which happens to be the designer’s birthplace. The building, where the show was staged – futuristic Herzog & de Meuron Elbephilharmonie – was a perfect backdrop for those refined, beautiful clothes. That certain kind of neat elegance, accompanied by classical orchestral music, felt very German. Maison Michel–made nautical tweed caps and navy Guernsey knits nicely matched the marine nature of Hamburg, which up to now was out of the fashion world’s radar. Seems like a perfect wardrobe for now – even though it hits the store late summer…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.