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Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Chanel Fall 2012: Geological reports from the Fortress of Solitude.

Previously on Chanel: Karl Lagerfeld, Lord of the Sea addresses the proletariat via harp and conch-shell, and Karl Lagerfeld has never been to India but let's just gloss over that, shall we?

"Diverse" isn't a word that springs to mind when thinking of Chanel, but this collection was extraordinarily varied. The 68 looks ranged from billowing, translucent dresses to armour-like metallic suits, so it was just as well that the theme was easy to pick out: gems. A perfect opportunity for writers to start in on a seemingly endless wave of puns like so many Carrie Bradshaws. Look no further than this review, which summarises the show as "A gem of a collection... Solid as a rock." Just let me get my geological hammer to break into this treasure trove of -- oh, never mind.
Aside from the eyebrows, makeup was minimal. Having Vulcan brows made from tiny rocks glued onto their faces gave the models an especially stern look, adding to the typically aloof Chanel mood. I can just imagine Karl backstage: "Eyebrows are the true source of expression, but why should a Chanel Woman tempt wrinkles when she can communicate directly via the resonance of crystals? The Chanel Woman does not WEAR the diamond, she IS the diamond!"
pictures from
The show opened with some narrow-legged trouser suits that more closely resembled the looks Chanel has been producing over the past few years. Rough, relaxed fabrics, all in -- of course -- jewel tones like purple and teal.

Yes, this show did take place in the Fortress of Solitude, which is just as well because some of the outfits did look a little like something out of a comicbook. There's definitely something a little bit Thor about these chestplate-necklace/tinfoil dress ensembles.
Microwavable, and angry about it.
The dress pictured below was a real standout for me, oddly enough. A simple LBD, suitable for body-types other than that of catwalk models, and plain without being boring. The jewel in the centre of the chest and the shape of the neckline tie in with this show's theme, while the assymetrical wraparound skirt and leggings underneath are a nod to Chanel's Indian inspiration last year. 
And now we return to Vulcan. Wearing something that looks like Gareth Pugh broke into the Chanel workshops in the middle of the night and had his wicked way with one of the dresses, this particular Vulcan does not look happy to have landed on the planet of ice-crystals.
This was one of the more literal interpretations of the gemstone theme. My opinions of Chanel are so detached from my own tastes that I find things like this somewhat hard to judge. Is this something that other people would like? That they'd wear? This Doctor Who costume-looking dress that turns your nipples into the armoured points of a crystalline stained-glass window?

So that thing I mentioned earlier about diversity? Yeah. This next section of the show was drastically different from the looks it was sandwiched between -- and, incidentally, was the closest to something that I'd actually wear.
I can't work out if the Gap Yah scarves in these outfits are actually part of the dress or a separate item. The whole thing seems like a very curious choice for a Fall show, particularly one from Chanel, although I do follow that the repeated uses of translucent fabrics are probably another note on the crystal theme.
This coat was probably the trendiest thing in the show. Un-tailored tailoring, exterior seams borrowed from Gareth Pugh, and oversized rounded shoulders.
 Whereas this white suit was the most traditionally Chanel thing they had to offer: Vulcan grandmother chic.
The show's finale piece was this almost Alexander McQueen-esque gown, an intricate mesh of oil-slick scraps of fabric, with a bodice of feathers layered over one another like scales. For Chanel, a surprisingly aggressive and peculiar choice -- very Tilda Swinton as the witch queen in Narnia.
While I personally thought the shoes were hideous and chilly-looking, I'm sure they'll sell like hotcakes thanks to the very noticable crystal heel. Until someone starts making believable knockoffs, that heel will be an instant Chanel status-symbol, for people who care about that sort of thing.

Lagerfeld, wearing a colour for the first time in years.
Karl Lagerfeld note: If you have any fashion questions -- or life questions -- that you feel Mr Lagerfeld might be able to help with, then I suggest Lagerfeld Advice.


  1. I was legit thinking of McQueen for the witch queen outfit when you posted those two pics on twitter earlier.
    Also: I would definitely wear the second outfit almost as is (with boots), even though (because?) it looks like a high class bag lady outfit. Brb pushing my shopping cart filled with bottles and trashbags down the street.

  2. nice opinion.. thanks for sharing...

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