Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015-2016

Tues. 07/07/2015.

In the pantheon of "Spectacles" that have been produced by the Maestro of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, an Iceberg of Snice from Sweden carved by 35 ice sculptors over 6 days from 28 TONS of Snow and Ice from 2010, the futuristic Greenhouse with over 300 mechanically blooming paper flowers, the 80-odd metre high globe of the world (which also rotated like our own globe, Earth!) marked with little lights and tiny. White flags with Black CC's indicating all of the worlds Chanel Boutiques and in shop stores around the planet, (including the two, perfectly placed flags in my beloved home of Michigan in the Northern Hemisphere of the Globe, stuck, proudly and almost exactly, in the spot where Troy, Michigan is located on a map of the state!), the Art Installation in which all 70+ pieces of Chanel referential art were created by the Granddaddy himself of the house and then created to his precise dimensions and filled his "Gallery" of the Spring show...

I could go on... Wind Turbines and a Solar Panel Runway, Le Supermarche, Boulevard Chanel, again, there are such extraordinary set pieces, that they are too numerous to catalogue. Within that context, Karl for Fall 2015 has in a way, seemingly outdone himself, if not exactly in scope (how can anything truly be more awe inspiring than a FUCKING ICEBERG!) more so in how ideally matched and brilliant the set and decor match the theme and clothing to such an acutely perfect pitch. After Lagerfeld so perfectly encapsulated this with his "Brasserie Gabrielle" for the Fall-Winter Ready-To-Wear, comes back with a space so perfectly attuned to embodying the aesthetic and "Esprit de Chanel" that it was almost overwhelming in it's purity.

"Le Cercle Privè" (The Private Circle) was Lagerfeld's envisioning of a High Class, High Style, playground for the rich women and their cadre of friends that buy and wear couture. It was a perfect Synthesis of Art Deco, 20th-Century Modern, and the Regal luxe of Monaco Casinos. If such a place has never existed, this beguiling set piece proved that it should have! It was more than say, An Iceberg, or a Supermarket, or an Undersea Tableau, This was a a slice of a life that does not exist made corporeal. That was the Genius of this and the Brasserie, these were Lifestyle backdrops that could double in Real Life! Not something fantastical or whimsical or outlandish for the sake of creating a jaw drop moment of gawking dumbfoundedness... No! This was something that could have been taken from some parallel life or different timeline of reality and gently set down, Fully Formed and perfect to the most infinitesimal degree. It was as if someone walked into the Grand Palais and found themselves in a Universe completely contained in there, like something perhaps out of "Men In Black" or akin to waking up in a ship in a Bottle. A unique world, captured, in this one, singular moment, Frozen in time and place.

But that's Lagerfeld's superior genius, Unlike a Play or Opera or Movie, where we get to inhabit that world multiple times, Lagerfeld knows the immense power of the ephemeral. Yes, it will exist in Video and Pictures, but those that inhabited that universe in the real life, for however long or brief it was, will only occupy it that once, live that experience that once, and never again! It makes it all the more Heart rending for that and more impactful. Not being able to attend, I can look at the pictures and videos and ascertain a shadow figure of, an inkling of the atmosphere, but I cannot take part in this Fairy-Tale, I can only extrapolate. That brings a wistfulness to the proceedings, something, unfathomably radiant and also desperately sad. Sad, because it is so surreally special and only so few get to inhabit that Deceptively Real, Imaginary world for those few brief minutes. This beautiful and magical world, that for all the laborious work that goes into evincing these fantastical spheres of artistry can evoke, are here but for a brief time and then, Poof! Disparu! Lagerfeld does however, give us ALL, the ability to dream, either by being in that world, or wishing to be, and in that respect, there is a kind of munificent equality to his majestic ideas. The dream Karl is weaving is democratic in that it is not banned from anyone being able to enjoy, but the democracy ends there, because not all can partake.

So, We find ourselves thrust into this Postmodern Deco Casino and the eerie quiet and calm that precedes it... The curtain has already been raised, the environment not only meant to imply but to, down to the most minute particle, Imitate a real casino, including fully functioning Chanel Branded and influenced Slot and electronic card game machines (with names like "Silver Camellias" and "Little Black Jack" and "Trente-et-Une" all sly witticisms on Chanel Codes!) Roulette and Chemin-de-fer tables. This elegant and PRISTINE Misè-en-Scéne in the sunken center of the Casino, was attended by a bevy of Studly young gentleman, patiently... Waiting. Waiting for what, you may ask?... In the silent, almost Kubrick-like space (think "2001") in entered actress and Chanel ambassadress, Kristen Stewart, striding in alone in her custom Chanel Couture Velvet pantsuit, and descended from the balcony section of the runway and down into the pit, to take her place among the tables, following her, actress Geraldine Chaplin and model Jamie Bochert, wafting in also in custom Chanel Couture, Chaplin in a diaphanous Black Chiffon stunner, Bochert in a floaty Velvet and Mousseline ensemble (do you sense a Theme?)

Following in succession: Actresses Lily-Rose Depp (Daughter of Johnny) and Lily Collins, gaily, jauntily, prancing in, swathed in short Velvet dresses with deep bands of Satin at the bust and hem. Japanese, Academy Award nominated actress and fashion plate, Rinko Kikuchi strode in, swathed in darkest night Black Velvet, followed by Tugba Sunguroglu (French Actress) and Violette d'Urso (Daughter of the first muse of Karl's for the house of Chanel, Ines de la Fressange, also a Model/Actress) in Cadet Blue bias Satin (Sunguroglu) and Black Tweed and Tulle (d'Urso). Next. another Chanel ambassadress, Rita Ora in a Le Smoking suit of Pannè Velvet in the colour of Starlight with a full-length slit skirt. Ambassadress to the house, Alice Dellal followed in a brief dress of Black Leather polished to a patent like finish. French actress, Isabelle Huppert, was escorted in by French actor Jeremie Elkaim, she wearing a Black bias Satin fishtail gown and he a custom Tux, behind them Jemima Kirke, cousin to Dellal and an artist/actress in a full-skirted tea length Black Lace number. G-Dragon, Korean rapper/musician was next (custom Tux) and then house favorites, models Stella Tennant (In a deep Claret Red Velvet gown) and Jake Davies in another custom Tux. Another pair of house favorites strode in as a couple next, Models Lara Stone (In a curvaceous Trompe l'Oeil Black Crepe Satin gown looking like a two-piece Tux) and Baptiste Giabiconi (one of Karl's male muses) in what else? A Tux! Lily-Rose's Mother, longtime house collaborator and friend, Vanessa Paradis, in a Embroidered Golden Beige pantsuit of a tunic top and pants. And finally, as a pair, Actress Par Excellence, Julianne Moore in a Figure exalting swath of Emerald Green Velvet (perfect for a natural Redhead!) escorted by Academy Award winning British Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis' son with renowned French Actress and César Award winning actress, Isabelle Adjani, Model Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis, Tux, Naturellement.

All of these, as Lagerfeld called them, "Friends of the House" were kitted out in Specialty One-Of-A-Kind Chanel Couture outfits that were designed for them for the occasion by Karl. He created each piece as a unique to the person outfit and not as part of the collection, but as a unique calling card, Fashion wise, to the specific "Friend" The reasoning? Company higher-ups wanted Karl to showcase the recent relaunch of the reproductions of the original 1932 Haute Joaillerie collection that Madamemoiselle created, and in Karl's mind, the pieces did not fit in with the collection he was creating which had it's jumping off point from the idea that he had entitled the collection "3-D" (more on that in a bit) So, he invited a clutch of his ambassadresses and house favorites and models to showcase them, all in Custom Couture. They were in a sense, the "Show, within the Show" as they blithely carried on playing Casino games as the models wound round them acting as if they noticed them not one whit. They acted almost like a Divertissement around which the collection was showcased. Once Lagerfeld addressed that little, aside... On with the show!

Starting out, This was by far Lagerfeld at the Zenith of his talent, it was in fact, a pinnacle of achievement. That aforementioned jumping off point "3-D" was describing the opening 10 Chanel "Suits" Not suits in any conventional terminology, but netted, web like structures created with a 3-D printer. Showing off a Savoir-Faire of unspeakable magnitude, these tweeds that were not at all tweed, these iconic Chanel suits that were unlike any Chanel suit ever. The 3-D suits were lined with either Tweed, Feathers or most often, elaborate configurations of Beads, Sequins, Pearls and Crystals. They all mimicked a similar silhouette, but were all achieved in different manner materials and formations. Festooned with ascot blouses that tie at the neck into fluid bows, or slim shirts underneath, the suits were the epitome of the principles of Haute Couture, hideously expensive (they were rumoured to cost upwards of $300,000.00 each!) and practically unwearable other than standing up, no sitting allowed and created for no more than the fanciful art of creation.

After this exercise in iconic classicism executed in a thoroughly of-the-moment modern rendering, Lagerfeld presented the collection proper, inspired by Iribe's illustrations in the 30's by way of Balenciaga's Barrel line of the 60's. Lagerfeld structured his silhouettes with a broad shoulder line that was achieved without any padding but by wide epaulets and often with a swinging sway back "Barrel" flare and since most of the jackets displaying this effect were gently cropped at the waist, it modernized the line, Another aspect that came into immense relief was that Lagerfeld got back to figuring his Tweeds out of just that... Simple, unadorned, Tweed! Yes, in recent years, Lagerfeld has presented his tweeds in embroidery and intricate fabrications such as tweeds that are dissolving or fraying or tweeds woven not even out of thread, but here, Lagerfeld showed how much a technical wizard he is and cut the humble fabric into supple, fluid suits that though backward-looking in their inspirè, were totally of-the-minute in their execution. Their simplicity of fabrication, however, made it all that more precarious, for if they were one millimetre off, as Karl would say, "Forget about it!" If asked, as a critic or reviewer, which were some of the best, it would be a Solomon like task to do so. All were so exceptionally sublime that to split those kind of hairs, you'd need one of those $5,000+ Sushi knives! Though forced to do so, Exit No. 23 was an exemplary study in understated elegance, in Hematite and palest Dove Grey blend tweed, with it's purist lines and stand-up Shawl Collar, it was a slice of purest exquisiteness. Unfussy and totally about application of fit and cut. Technically, the last day suit, proper, in the show, on Pauline Hoarau at Exit No. 29, in the Papyrus spangly tweed, was a revelation as well. with it's high cut jacket and Whippet thin silhouette, it was the embodiment of the unimaginable exactitude it takes that creates a Couture Masterpiece as such.

And Evening... Where to begin? Where to END!? There was such a plethora of beauties that the mind is surely befuddled by such a surplus. Firstly, a loud clapping of hands to Lagerfeld for showing off his skills that he used to dazzle us with in the past, his superiority of drape and fit and cut of fabric with absolutely no adornment whatsoever, save a brooch here and there or a bit of jewelry. There were some absolutely Mind-Blowing pieces that had not one whit of embellishment and stood out amongst the throng all the more so for it. namely, a Navy bias Satin Chiffon stunner on Camille Hurel at Exit No. 46 that simply left the jaw AGAPE. With it's banded bodice, Empire line and Hi-Lo Flapper hem of sheerer fabric, it defined "GLORIOUS!" I'm not even going to try to take the time to talk about Exit No. 61... This review has gone on plenty long enough already and I could write another review of that one piece alone, which would match this one in prolixity! Just let us say, Unbelievable. As for the Flapper feeling, the trio of gowns from Exits No. 55-57 also were indubitable showings of Lagerfeld's legion skills and the titanic mastery of his Chanel ateliers. In luminous shades of Steel Grey (the hooded version on Louise Parker), Champagne Nude (on the EXQUISITE Josephine Le Tutour) and pale Off-White tiered gown on Maatje Verhoef (which was rumoured to have been covered in over a million tiny caviar beads) all phenomenal examples of supreme lightness and deftness of execution.

Ending, Lagerfeld sent his current Muse Du Jour (Kendall Jenner) out in an Casino worthy Marieè Tux in Crème Blanc, with a crystal bead studded "Train" whipped up into an attached stole around the sleeves and shoulders. Not any kind of fan of Ms. Jenner, (I Loathe her particularly, but what are you gonna do?) but the subversive turn of this Bride as Groom was especially piquant after all the resplendent femininity of what had come before it. As ever, Karl showed that he is always light years ahead of the pack, even when he's backwards glancing. He mined the rich history of Chanel, yet once more, to come up with something resolutely modern, yet unabashedly classic! It's an alchemy that few, if any, can achieve, and the stupefying and dumbfounding aspect of it all is, when one considers the Set/Decor, The One-Of-A-Kind pieces made for his "Friends du Maison" 67 exits and also, Shoes, Accessories, Hair and Makeup that this ONE MAN spins his Spectacles out of (owing that he conceives all these aforementioned ideas) It's an alchemy of the likes that we will never see practiced again. In that way, there is a painful pang of sadness and wistfulness that suffused this collection once it was over... This kind of perfection, does not happen everyday, knowing that, one must absorb all the Joy and Surprise and Delight that Lagerfeld affords us. No one knows for how long the show can or will go on... But, GODDAMN, What a Fantastic Fucking show it is!


That's All.


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