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.

Ritzy. Chanel Pre-Fall’17

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Whenever Chanel does a pre-collection presentation, you know every single detail regarding it a month earlier. The press is burning with the show’s fancy, far-fetched location; Instagram feed is all in #chanel. This time, however, Karl Lagerfeld and the legendary French maison decided to slow it down a bit with their PR – or at least, stay at home. And specifically, in the newly re-opened Ritz hotel on Place Vendome, just a few steps away from the brand’s flagship store on rue du Cambon. Although you can’t call this ‘modesty’, going a bit more traditional than usual is simply… reasonable.

In fact, there were three Chanel shows in one day – the first was presented during a chic brunch; the second started at the time of lunch; and the last during a fancy dinner. The guests (everybody from the fashion editors to couture clients) had a way better day than you, that’s for sure. The clothes were excellent comparing to the last few seasons where Karl did literary everything, from a faux women’s protest to a glossy IT room. I guess it’s because Chanel looks best, when worn in real Paris, rather than in non-sense, meaningless venues. The dining rooms of Ritz perfectly matched Lagerfeld’s vision of  cosmolitan elegance. Slouchy knitted cardigans and tweed pencil skirts; black tulle dresses styled with deluxe duvet jackets; shoulder pads and layers of pearl necklaces. According to the designer, the collection was an reflection of and ode to “people from all over the world who’ve come to the Ritz. There were hundreds of dinners in the ’20s and ’30s, where women wore incredible things.” But the most intriguing thing about this collection is the lack of the ’60s’, ’70s’ or ’90s’ tags, which are overused by others in the industry. “You cannot tell from the collection what decade it is, and I think that is modern“. Good point.

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Couture – Fairy-Tale. Fendi AW16

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90th anniversary for Fendi is not just an anniversary. It’s an occasion to show off. And Karl Lagerfeld proudly celebrated the event during his last haute couture show for the Italian house, making the entire Rome gasp. The show was literally staged on Trevi Fountain, fresh off a $2.4 million rehab. Like in a fairy-tale, the models walked down a transparent, elevated runway, while Fellini-famed symbol of the eternal city has never looked that glamorous and fashionable. No doubt this fashion show will be remembered forever as one of the most magnificent and daring – this can be easily said about the fur creations, which graced the runway, too.

Since the very beginnings of the brand, Fendi was known for “fun fur” – the most fantastically decorated fur coats and jackets were delivered from Roman ateliers, pleasing the aristocratic Italian families and clients. Lagerfeld embraces Fendi’s specific, couture legacy through fourrure, and autumn-winter 2016 is his second one (the first one was also presented as a winter season last July). Words can’t describe the beauty of these masterpieces. A pink dress seemed to be made out of simple lace, but in fact it was Persian lamb with 5000 hand-cut holes. Mosaic-style scene of an enchanted forest was presented on a mink coat thanks to an old technique of stitching and cutting. Some dresses were appliquéd with hand-sculpted flowers from mink. Crotchet gowns oozed with antique chic, embroidered with long-hair mink and fringed leather. “This is what Fendi is all about. No other fur house in the world does it, or could do it” the creative director said during a press conference. That’s a true statement, Karl.

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