By Milly Edgerley
Since its foundation in 1913, Chanel has become synonymous with pushing the boundaries of design and exploring the transformative nature of fashion. From the little black dress to the tweed suit, Coco Chanel established the brandâ€™s legendary legacy; an iconism that Karl Lagerfeld has not only safeguarded during his twenty five years as Creative director, but cultivated into an innovative, forward thinking aesthetic that has consistently put Chanel at the forefront of contemporary fashion.
Nestled in the heart of the Grand Palais, Chanelâ€™s Couture collection was showcased in a simulacrum of a commercial space shuttle flight complete with a luxury drinks trolley and reconstructed cockpit; an attention to detail that sets Chanel apart from other design houses. In a swift departure from the decadent scorched-earth world of previous shows, the vision was streamlined and upbeat, looking to both retro and futuristic influences as inspiration.
The venue seemed to inform the cut of the clothes, with widened bateau necks and starkly fresh lines giving the signature Chanel suit a retro reimagining, however it was clear that any â€˜Pan Amâ€™ references were not intended to be literal and the collection felt intrinsically modern as it came down the runway.
Silhouettes were feminine and elegant, a classic Chanel formula but this time with a twist. Waists were dropped past the hip with pockets replacing the trademark handbags, imbuing the collection with a fresh sense of youthful insouciance. This feeling of rebellion permeated the collection, welcoming playful touches such as a classic-style Chanel suit re-constructed in faded denim.
The Alice Dellal-esque hairstyling and the high-altitude colour palette continued this fresh modern mood throughout the collection, bringing a new nonchalance to couture.
That is not to say, however, that the classicism of Chanel was lost to casual modernity. The cavalier drop-waists were combated by the exquisite tailoring and delicate intricacy of the embroidery that created the texture of the fabrics.
Evening Wear in particular showcased the craftsmanship of the collection: a dress encrusted with peacock-coloured paillettes from collarbone to hem slouched perfectly with the modelâ€™s hands thrust into jean â€“style pockets. Elsewhere a gleaming monochrome contribution showcased Lagerfeldâ€™s affinity for creating unparalleled glamour for the modern woman.
Furthermore the collection presented whimsical floor length dresses paired with structured jackets which will surely be a highly anticipated look for Spring/summer.
The Industryâ€™s resident renaissance man has once again delivered a collection that captures the fresh mood of the moment whilst upholding the staple values that have long established Chanel as the prominent design house of every era.
Images from Style.com
The spring 2012 fashion trends have already hit the runaway. What can we expect this spring? A definite 180 from last year. 2011, for women, was all about borrowing from their male counterpart's wardrobe. Boyfriend jeans, military inspired gear, and grungy clothing were all the rage.
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