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.

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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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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