Cuba. Chanel Resort 2017

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On Monday, Karl Lagerfeld took his cool ladies, like Tilda Swinton and Carine Roitfeld, to Cuba, and not to the fussy MET Gala filled with cheesy Balmain-gowns and Kim K klan.  In fact, everybody thought that Manus x Machina event in New York, and its “galore”, would dim Chanel – but all eyes were on swirling, organza skirts and Stella Tennant’s chic show opening. Dressed in a classy Cubanos smoking, with over-sized collars and pantalons, the monochrome colour palette dynamically evolved into peach-pink and lemon-yellow silhouettes. Floaty dresses, 50s car prints on t-shirts and functional flip-flops – joy and easiness was perceivable along Paseo del Prado, scented with male models’ cigars which were smoked nonchalantly during their walk. Debutante dresses were all about the embroidered, slightly tattered sleeves, showing an homage to Hispanic ruffles which are so popular on the colourful streets of Havana. Even the show venue, a public street, didn’t feel like previous, slightly pretentious resort shows by Chanel – Ibeyi, French-Cuban twin-sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Díaz performed a soulful, temperamental song just at the beginning of the show. By the end, models, guests, Cuban passersby and the designer himself, danced… and it all looked like a cheerful parade of wearble fashion and Latin attitude.

Of course, these clothes will cost their average, Chanel prices – but still, Karl and his team managed to pull it off in a casual way. Showing a Chanel collection on the streets of a communist country might be risky, and in effect look too distant and Euro-posh. But to my surprise, the collection was a laid-back line of carefree styling, without much of pressure on Cuba’s culture and references. Focusing on a diverse casting (big plus for the brand) and relaxed leisurewear, Lagerfeld has effortlessly started the Resort 2017 season – with grace, and in Cuban rythm.

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Paris – Rome. Chanel Pre-Fall’16

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Staging a Chanel fashion show in Rome for Metiers d’Art collection (in other words, Pre-Fall 2016) wasn’t that clear at the first sight. However, Karl Lagerfeld had a very reasonable answer for his decision – only a few know that in the 50’s, Coco Chanel designed for the incredible, classy actresses like Jeanne Moreau, Anouk Aimée, Monica Vitti, and Romy Schneider, all of whom starred in Italian movies by Visconti and Pasolini wearing her chic tweeds and dresses. As you might know, I was recently very skeptic about Karl’s last few collections for the legendary Parisian house – the glossy, Cara Delevigne-packed model squad and Instagram-moment venues made Chanel a brand which rather looked towards media, than the clothes. However, this time, Karl showed a graceful collection, which was fully focused on the clothes. The serene, moody setting of an Italian cinema was a perfect background for the film noir lace dresses, masculine coats, leather “pasta” embroideries (this part makes me love Lessage studio even more – they made my favourite farfalle look absolutely great on a dress!) and sultry, leather pencil skirts and jackets. What caught everybody’s attention were the lace tights. They had a femme fatale atitude when worn with pointy Mary-Janes pumps. So Italian. So on point with the deliberately sexy and elusive theme of the entire collection. The hair, done by Sam McKnight, was all about messy beehives and the girls, with their smoky eyes, looked effortlessly glamorous, just like the icons of Italian cinema. Also, the model casting was just the right choice – the designer mixed the catwalk veterans, like Lara Stone and Freja Beha, with a diversity of newcomers – from Lineisy Montero, Molly Bair and Mica Arganaraz to Stella Lucia, Greta Varlese and Alexandra Elizabeth. You’re back on the good track, Karl!

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ca. 1960s, New York City, New York, USA --- French actress Anouk Aimee --- Image by © Condé Nast Archive/Corbis

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HC – Fourrure. Fendi AW15

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The last fourrure was presented 90 years ago. Two days ago, Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Fendi, showed the world what is the definite fur splendor. As the name fourrure might suggest, it is a haute couture collection which is utterly focused on… fur. Chinchilla, sable and mink were presented in form of long, floor-weeping coats, flesh explosing jumpsuit and amazingly detailed sweaters – and these were not only interesting because of the fact they were made from a fusion of cashmere and fluff, but because they were embellished with huge flowers, of course shaped from fur. The cape worn by Julia Nobis at the end of the show may have been all about feathers “transforming” into a silver-tipped skirt, which set our minds on a cross-species category search. PETA was set at bay during the fashion show – and all your furry fantasies became real.

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HC – Casino. Chanel AW15

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This season, Karl Lagerfeld took us to a casino in oder to show, that everybody there wear Chanel haute couture. Karl’s muse splash – Stella Tennant, Kristen Stewart, Lara Stone, Julianne Moore – gambled on the roulette tables while the models circled the spacious runway. But it seemed, that this what the models wore during the show was the least important. The whole event of a casino stole the spotlight and nobody really looked at the fashion part. Well, maybe because all those dresses, little (black) jackets and tweed skirts felt… boring? During the last few seasons, if talking of couture, Karl gives us the same idea behind the clothes. Classy, lady-like silhouettes without any fantasy. Just look back at the last few seasons. The scenarios of runways are always amazing and Instagram-worthy, but the dresses (and haute couture is mostly about beautiful dresses!) are being neglected.

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K-Coco. Chanel Resort 2016

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Chanel went Korea (Seoul specifically) this time. For Resort 2016 (yes, already for next spring). Coco listening to K-Pop? Minnie Mouses which are all about CC? It’s another Karl Lagerfeld fantasy, where everything is covered with camelias, made of tweed and embellished with chains. Also, for this pre-summer collection, Chanel went “modern” and brought bold geometric patterns which rather make me think of 70’s than the futurism of the Far East. Naturally, it was all about being cute and youthful, which is explained through the very excessive dose of blush pink colour. I can’t say the collection was bad, but it lacked originality and sense, just like in everything Chanel does lately.

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Gabrielle’s Brasserie. Chanel AW15

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A vision of France from a stranger who thinks France is not that bad.” Karl Lagerfeld has grown increasingly tired of the cynical negativity, much of it from the French themselves. So, creating a Brasserie Gabrielle as a venue for Chanel’s AW15 show was the right idea – what cheers up a French as much as a good lunch with red wine? Well, only a new Chanel bag. But the space was too vast to communicate the charm of a real brasserie in Paris, even those as big as Balzar which is Lagerfeld’s favourite. Actually, it’s the first time when the usual, fabulously great concept for a Chanel show stumbled. But still, it felt nice.

If talking of the clothes, you know me. When there are 98 Chanel looks in one Chanel collection, I easily get bored. Why? Because they are all mostly the same. Boucle, tartan check, CC logo, pearls… all those Chanelised codes seem to sink in this big amount of clothes. And I always feel sad that quantity wins over the quality at Chanel shows. But the thing that surprised me were the shoes – or rather, one pair of shoes. Each model had the same pair of shoes! The classical, beige Coco pumps. I liked that. After all those ugly tweed sneakers and crystalized heels, a simple pair of beige pumps feels like a healthy detox.

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HC: In The Garden. Chanel SS15

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Am I the only one who thinks Karl Lagerfeld starts to be boring? This haute couture collection feels so… without life. The models were all dressed up as gardener wives, wearing ugly, anti-couture boots, widow straw hats and strange silhouettes, which are totally not eye-catchy. Definitely, if not the high retail of bags and cosmetics, the brand would feel some crisis. He claimed the show came to him in an electronic flash. “One morning in bed, I saw it in a second.” Or maybe he had a peek at the archives? SS10? Ring a bell? Same theme – cute dresses and a garden. But, then, the dresses were really cute.

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Salzburg. Chanel Pre-Fall’15

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The strongly anticipated Chanel metiers d’art collection for Pre-Fall 2015 is reavealed. In the heart of Schloss Leopoldskron, one of the most magnificient and historical places in Austria, the show was presented, keeping it between the border lines of Salzburg’s legacy and Karl Lagerfeld buzz. As you might guess, there were lots of embroideries, knits and embellishments which are not only typical for this region of Europe, but also for the metiers d’art tradition. First of all, Salzburg is the place where Coco Chanel found her first inspiration for the iconic little black jacket- just by seeing the lobby boy’s “outfit”. So, no wonder why we saw a lot of it here, in new colours and versions. Worn with sweat-pants (yes, in Austria), super opulent bags, feather trimmed hats and brogues, the clothes felt nostaligic with a fresh perspectve. Victorian turtlnecks and floral motives where here, too. Plus, the clothes for men reminded me more of waiters in Bavarian restaurant rather than Salzburg princes… Truly, I thought the collection will be much worse. But it wasn’t. It had a nice sense of humour, warm venue (not some kind of super-market) which was the Schloss library chamber. For a while I observed more deeply Karl Lagerfeld’s moves at Chanel and the outcome is- his Pre-Falls are better, than all the other collections. After Mumbai, Moscow, Edinbourgh, Dallas, Salzburg feels really fine- all of them are showing what metiers d’art is. And now, it’s time for Cracow in my opinion. The city’s charm would look great at Chanel’s next Pre-Fall…

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Selling Feminism. Chanel SS15

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Karl Lagerfeld tried doing feminism after a super-market and space odyssey shows. And it felt so, so fake. If you spread feminism through fashion, then at list use more than three models of colour. Use plus-size models and not only the glossy Cara Delevigne and Georgia May Jagger combo which are skinny and “perfect”. It’s not feminism, Karl. It’s just giving a bunch of girls few posters with signs like Boys should also be pregnant or He for She. Showing this, and saying that it’s feminism, seems to be really funny and silly comparing to what, for example, happens in Turkey or Russia. These women really fight for women’s rights. Maybe I shouldn’t connect the fashion thing with politics, but using too big words for too small things isn’t a good matter for an important aim. And by the way- how many women in the world can buy every three months a one-season-only Chanel bag? I thing something is wrong up here… let’s just stay with one thing: MAKE FASHION in fashion (but unfortunately, even the horrible clothes didn’t help the whole collection out of the situation).

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