Thursday, June 23, 2016


Tues. 03/10/2015.

"Brasserie Gabrielle" A Paean. An Ode. A Tipping of the hat to the olden days of the French Brasserie where all the intellectuals would spend their idle hours in discussion or thought and wile away the day watching the whole of Parisian society enter and exit and move on. A microcosm of Paris as a whole one might say. To construct this Brazen idea was a Stunning conceit. One that in the History of Le Grand Spectacle shows that are a Chanel "Event" (One could call them nothing less really!) was perhaps the most lofty undertaking yet, and this is coming from the house that shipped in 6 TONS OF ICE from Norway some many moons ago, for a show!

Every conceivable aspect was recreated in the most Grandiose of fashions at the Grand Palais in Paris, from Hundreds of thousands of tiny mosaic tiles that were inlayed in the floor to meters and meters and meters of Burnished Walnut wood, Revolving Doors, Intricate light fixtures tricked out with Custom-designed Glass... REAL MENUS AND FOOD AND WINE!!! It was Dazzling and Heady and Altogether, ASTOUNDING! One keeps thinking Karl Lagerfeld, As if we could have been talking of anyone else, can't POSSIBLY, come up with yet another Overwhelming triumph of Design and Decor for his Chanel shows, Yet this was perhaps the most Epic to date. Not only because the utmost care and attention to detail was taken down to the most Minute, but because it was so Breathlessly Regal and unexpected... To take, what in Paris is something that can be found on every Avenue, Boulevard or Rue you stroll down, Le Brasserie, and then to create it in such Monumental scale and still have it be Captivating and Awe-Inspiring... It is a gift that few possess! 

What's more, Lagerfeld's Fall 2015 showing in the "Brasserie Gabrielle" was as much a treatise on Meticulous design as the set was. With a ridiculously robust exit count of 97, Unkle Karl displayed such a Facile hand with everything that the mind actually swam from the overload. New ideas merged with old ideas, Codes Ancienne were reinvented in exciting and modern ways, Every Chanel Trope was given it's due and done with an utter sense of the Now, and one could say even, Nouvelle, that this came off in no way as a Chanel we have seen in the past, even though it all felt as familiar as a Warm Hug from an old friend. Lagerfeld expressed so many ideas as to be profuse to the extreme, but somehow, it never felt weighted down by the abundance. There was such freedom to be found and so many ideas spinning around that any 10 other designers, designing together, could not have kept the narrative cohesive, Though in Karl's hands, it didn't feel like he strained even one finger sketching such copious delights for us to indulge in!

The show began with a North/South approach, Two ideas were strutted out simultaneously from opposite ends of the Brasserie, One the Parka. Beaded, Embroidered and/or Puffy. They were paired with Strict and Severe pencil skirts in Plaid Tweed and simple tops, such as the Funnel Turtleneck or oversized Roll neck sweaters. These came across as nods to the 60's and equally to the 80's. The Gold Parka outfit at Exit No. 23 had a Distinct feeling of that decade, it's broad shouldered silhouette and modest skirt length all recalled the "Power Dressing" era captured in a contemporary P.O.V! Counterpoint this positively, Genteel idea with what exited from the opposing end of the runway, Highly designed, Intricate Cross-pollinations of Chanel Tweed and the Bomber jacket. These were, oft times, as elaborate as the counter silhouette was simplistic. Tufted and Quilted and Puckered inflated Bomber silhouettes enmeshed with Stolid tweed in a Frankenstein-ish sense of intertwining textures and volumes. It was Fascinating and Daring, to so deconstruct the Bread-and-Butter of the house, The Tweed suit, in such a disorienting way, yet, Lagerfeld has never truly stood on the ceremonial in that respect, to be sure!

One thing that was made apparent rather quickly, the firmly Classic Chanel Standard of at to below-the-knee length hemlines was followed to the letter, and to go with those conservative lengths, the major conceit of the show, a reconsideration of the classic Chanel Pump, which as Lagerfeld duly noted, in his 30+ years at the house he has never shown this shoe in any collection. Presented here, as it was so many years ago when Madamoiselle herself created it to lengthen and accentuate the leg, shown with EACH AND EVERY Exit, the shoe created a single-minded feeling of unity among the many disparate threads that King Karl wove into his Fall 2015 Chanel Tapestry!  The little Midi heel looked Chicer than ever and made even the most resolutely forward thinking outfits feel grounded and approachable. Saying this, it was interesting to note that there was a mood of restraint permeating the collection that felt all the more Vanguard for the fact that what could, in this moment, be more renegade than Classic Conservatism?

It was all too prolific to touch upon every aspect that needed to be touched on... I might add that the tailoring in this collection bordered on the Impeccably Faultless, bringing a Dynamism of Fit and Cut that is usually reserved for the Haute Couture... Most notably in the Tweed Dresses section that followed after the opening passages. These pieces were so finely constructed and rigourous that they could have passed easily for something from any Couture collection Lagerfeld has put on in recent memory, Their invention and variety only served to underscore how facile Lagerfeld's hand is at creating remarkable fitting garments. Another moment worthy of acknowledgment, the pair of outfits outrageously embroidered by Lesage, replete with Feathers, Sequins, Beads and all matter of Flotsam and Jetsam, paired with sober Tweed, they truly called to mind the Dizzying skills of the Paraffection Ateliers, and looked as Diabolically expensive as they surely were!

To go on, again, would be a Fool's Errand of Gargantuan proportions... there was simply SO MUCH to consider and ponder on and admire, one has to stop somewhere or they would fall into the trap of verbal diarrhea! Lagerfeld put on the spectacle of a Lifetime, one that he Jammed Full to the Brim and perhaps even, to Overflowing, with every Trick in his Chanel bag! It was a Masterpiece that I don't think he is even capable of repeating, or Surpassing! Fall 2015 was a High-Water mark for Unkle K, He spun a Fantastic and Magical Fairy Tale that Apotheosized a bygone world, one that he said was a Tribute to Paris. Indeed, for a City as filled with Delight and Joy and Magic that Paris is, this was most definitely a Tribute worthy of The Greatest City on Earth! And Yes, Karl Lagerfeld IS the only one that could have done it justice in just this Spectacularly Grand a Style!

That's All.


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