THE

FRENCHRIGOR

Chanel Haute Couture Printemps-Été 2018

by DDA

April 20, 2018

Courtesy of Chanel 
Courtesy of Chanel 

No, it’s not the farmhouse from Chanel Spring 2010. Et non, la fontaine qui s’élève au centre de la scène n’est pas celle du Défilé Prêt-à-Porter Printemps-Été 2011.(And no, the fountain ascended from the centre is not the same one from Chanel Spring 2011 show.) This was a romantic escape from the capricious world to le jardin à la française cultivated by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Haute Couture Printemps-Été 2018.

There is a time for prettiness, when the world is becoming too ugly.”

- Karl Lagerfeld

And this collection would be a perfect getaway from these heavy times. Karl indulged the world with French aesthetics in Chanel’s formula. What could be better to do Haute Couture in the French rigor? As Haute Couture only happens in Paris. It is the devotion of attitude, the quality of the savoir-faire and the endless pursuit of the French aesthetics that composed this rigorous manner by the French. “This is what Couture should be”, declared Karl Lagerfeld.Walking under the towering dome of the Grand Palais, one can immerse himself in the leafy groves of this French garden while looking out to the pink roses climbing on the pergolas, along with trellises of ivy and jasmin. While Suzy Menkes took the geometry of the sandy pavilions as a subtle reference to the Versailles where Chanel presented the Croisière 2012/13 collection, the whole show décor reminded Godfrey Deeny of André le Nôtre, a French

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Courtesy of Chanel 

landscape architect who contributed to the park of Le Château de Versailles. Was it Versailles after all? The answer remained untold. The designer refused to “analyze the intentions behind his collections” as Andres Christian Madsen noted. However, perhaps for Karl, it’s simply a throwback to the days when Mademoiselle Chanel roamed at the Tuileries garden. The collection was so spontaneous and genuine that required no explanation to further enhance the experience.

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Courtesy of Chanel 
chanel-spring-summer-hauture-couture-201
Courtesy of Chanel 

Gabrielle Chanel, 1937 

Courtesy of Cecil Beaton 

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Courtesy of Chanel 

A garden is nourished by the hands of human effort and

the devotion of caring, with a touch of aesthetics, just like Couture. How a garden is grown is like how a dress is brought to life.”-DDA

Courtesy of Chanel 

This is a collection of optimism, epitomized by the “Smiling pocket” as Jesper Haynes described it. The lightness seen in colours, textures and silhouettes responded in coherence. Karl Lagerfeld created a delightful palette for the spring season, in which the colour range was full of pastel shades and dreaming hues worthy of Monet’s Water Lilies. Luna Bijl set the tone with a pomegranate ensemble, followed by dresses in lilac and emerald. With the simple lining of fuchsia pink in several looks, a striking contrast broke the placid peace of wind with a slice of exuberance. Led by the light colours consisting of sandy beige, tender green and gentle taupe and punctuated by intense shades including bright coral, vivid verdant and azure blue, the collection was a demonstration of the spring spectrum bursting out into extravagant pieces that serves from day to night.

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Amanda

Courtesy of Vogue Runway Photo:Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

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Floral motif

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Amanda

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Making a dress is no less different than building an architecture, “because it’s all about the construction”, said Amanda Harlech. It is a collective work of people whose traditional expertise made everything possible, Karl admitted, rendering homage to the suppliers with the title of “the big luxury”. Made high and wide, the shoulders were given an updated profile. In lieu of the traditional pagoda shoulders whose overt paddings secured the curve-out shape to emphasize the concave part of the shoulder, artisans in Chanel gave it a curve-down version with shortened shoulder piece and lengthened sleeves. The one-piece shoulder was further replaced by multi-seam pieces to release the shoulder for more movement.

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Courtesy of Vogue Runway
Photo:Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv
Monet: in Tate Modern, Image by DDA

As much cliché as it might be, the floral motif penetrated through the whole collection, not only the garden scene but also the embroideries. Anemones, buttercups, carnations, wisteria, and, of course, camellias were resembled in chiffon and organza. Petals by petals, and painted by hands, each flower was unique and ever so alive thanks to those petites mains at the atelier. The philosopher Heraclitus once argued “no man ever steps into the same river twice.” As for Chanel, no two petals are identical. Such exquisite craftsmanship was lavishly experimented on French Haute Couture. Seen on the dress, the transparent camellias gave dimensions to the embroideries and added a touch of austerity. Dali’s single ear of wheat, an oil painting given to Chanel, was multiplied in crystal beads on Amanda Sanchez, mimicking constellations on the sky. Hair stylist Sam McKnight, who is also appreciated for his Instagram garden, even transferred his flower-growing magic onto the models’ heads, creating a prolific floral richness attached with black veils. The veils complemented the look with a sense of mystery, blurring out the face features as if casting a shadow. Was it reminiscent of the 1937 image of Gabrielle Chanel photographed by Cecil Beaton or simply an ode to the flowers on the Coromandel screens? Either way remained Chanel.

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In addition to this empowering image, the floaty beribboned dress drew us back to the Cruise collection in Korea. They looked as if Karl flipped his palette, accidentally yet romantically. The duchess dress was having an airy moment with tulles at the bottom, the bustier skirt was given puffy hemline or sleeves with loads of feathers, and the slender shape offered a relaxing attitude even more. While those bias-cut dresses emphasized femininity, celebrating the curve line of female body, certain looks composed of breeches kept the collection from going too girly. Cropped to the knees, the breeches allowed women to move freely, even riding a horse. As for this, no one knows it better than Mademoiselle Chanel who rode without side saddles. That boyish allure balanced the collection with the boots in straight lines up to the ankles. Not a single look in the collection was showcased without being accessorized with the boots in either universal black, pearl-brocade, or dress-matching embroideries, as not to take over from the garment.

Courtesy of Chanel 
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Courtesy of Vogue Runway
Photo:Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv
Chanel Cruise 2016 

Gabrielle Chanel, 1937 

Courtesy of Cecil Beaton 

Chanel

is sumptuous but never ostentatious.

Courtesy of Chanel 
Courtesy of Chanel 

Finally, Karl brought us the bride. Following the flower boy Hudson Kroening, Luna Bijl closed the show with a feathered tuxedo all in blanc, dotted with peal buttons and attached with a train. The fashion Caesar has been redefining the rules of attire for nuptials in the past decade. In Chanel Fall 2013 Haute Couture, 2 brides end the show taking pride in same-sex marriage; Chanel Fall 2015 Haute Couture and Fall 2016 Haute Couture, dressing Kendall Jenner and Edie Campbell in suits proposing sex equality; Chanel Fall 2014 Haute Couture, letting Ashleigh Good wear a gown that suggests her pregnancy. The only attire that Gabrielle Chanel was never able to wear is now being challenged, season after season, under her name with the genius ideas of Karl Lagerfeld who, in his 80s, continues to reinvent the legacies of Chanel.

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bride

Courtesy of Vogue Runway Photo:Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv

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Courtesy of Vogue Runway
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Courtesy of Vogue Runway
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CHANEL SPRING 2019