2007 December 7

Chanel - Pre-Fall 2008

Chanel Pre-Fall 2008 Chanel Pre-Fall 2008
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(LONDON) "It's sophisticated and expensive clothing for the rich punk," Karl Lagerfeld said of his heavily Baroque-esque Chanel Métiers d'Art pre-collection titled Paris-Londres, presented at the minimal white Phillips de Pury & Co. headquarters in the Victoria district Thursday. The space was transformed to look like an elegant Parisian salon, with all-black chairs emblazoned with the Paris-Londres logo, candlelit tables, and a front row that included a mix of socialites, celebrities, and supermodels like Charlotte Casiraghi, Eugenie Niarchos, Lily Allen, Natalia Vodianova, and Emma Thompson.

The show was inspired by the "English chic" Coco Chanel herself was introduced to by her British lovers, Boy Capel and the Duke of Westminster, but more than that it was a virtuosity of craftsmanship for Karl Lagerfeld and the famous Parisian ateliers that he works with, like that of the embroiderer Lesage, the shoemaker Massaro, the button-maker Desrues, and the silversmith Goossens, to name a few.

It all started with model-cum-singer Irina Lazareanu and Sean Lennon taking to the stage to provide a jazzy romantic soundtrack to a decadent yet thoroughly approachable collection that was reminiscent of the Tudor and Victorian era: flat patent loafers were adorned with huge gem brooches, there were knickerbockers and high-collared shirts with ribbons, long tail coats adorned with crystals, and layers of transparent tartan chiffon. "It's punk, it's Teddy boys, it's Charles Dickens, it's London," Lady Amanda Harlech had said the night before.

But Lagerfeld didn't stop there; he also explored more ideas of what constitutes Brit style today, with Agyness Deyn and Daisy Lowe in heavy eye makeup, beehives, and long slim pants, a nod to Britain's current most famous artist, Amy Winehouse. "It was a cross between Amy Winehouse and Brigitte Bardot," Lagerfeld concurred. "I think Amy is one of the best talents coming out of England right now because you can identify with her voice and look. She is not improvising, she is just herself."

He also threw a bit of British eccentricity into the mix with his quilted Chanel bags with the Union Jack patterns (a whimsical wedge-shaped clutch dubbed the Doorstop bag was an immediate hit) and the high platforms, which had a lit-up light bulb forming the heel. But the essence of Chanel, the quality and Parisian elegance, was also prevalent throughout the collection, as shown in the bouclé dogtooth jackets and the beautiful crepe cream mini dresses adorned with lace on the hemline, while an abundance of jewels and crystals in the hair and on shoes, coats, dresses, and gloves gave a sheer feeling of decadence and nonchalance to the whole look.