Five commandments of classic French chic selon Chanel
‘French chic’ is a concept that is as desired as it is illusive. It conjures images of perfectly put-together Parisiennes; of Audrey Hepburn films, and Jean Seberg. But none says it quite like Chanel – a brand that is so much more than just their famed monogram.
Karl Lagerfeld might be a raging liability, but one thing can be said for the man: he truly is an artiste. He never fails to live up to his reputation – not only for scandal, but also for giving an unexpected modern twist to Chanel’s favourite classics.
His creations for the Chanel Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2013 collection were no exception, following the five commandments – quant à Chanel (according to Chanel).
1. Thou shalt never forget French tweed
If there’s one thing a Chanel collection is never without, it’s the classic Coco tweed. In jacket-form, strung from necklaces, made into skirts and trousers, formed into elaborate dresses and featured on classic handbags – there’s nowhere tweed will not go.
In the Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2013 show, Lagerfeld created not only the classic Chanel jacket from tweed, but also whole ensembles, and even hats.
2. Forties are the new twenties en France
The French have a reputation for ageing gracefully; something that eludes us slovenly Westerners. So, not only did Lagerfeld choose to feature some decidedly mature models in his collection, but he also harked back to another era in his designs.
Move over Gatsby, the forties are here to stay. Since Miuccia Prada first put the decade back on the map with her late-thirties, early-forties-inspired designs for Miu Miu, designers have continually returned to the refined silhouettes of the era. From defined brows to sharp lines and perfect victory rolls, Lagerfeld is in the midst of a Blitz love affair.
3. Thou shalt treasure thy très high boots
Reappearing in the AW Haute Couture collection were sky-high boots – not in height, but rather in length. Worn above by Russian supermodel Elena Perminova at the Spring 2013 show, the boots were back this season in permutations of blue, grey and black suede.
It’s certainly something this author wishes she could pull off…
4. To thine French dress be true
Every French woman knows that one of the many secrets to success is a killer dress. And Chanel is the perfect place to go looking if you want a dress to impress. This season, designs were classic with a decidedly modern edge – just how a French femme likes them.
Lagerfeld always likes to finish with a showstopper, and his design for this year lived up to expectations (pictured above right).
5. For every fête française, a ballroom.
Chanel shows are known for their location and interior as much as the clothes sashaying down the défilé (catwalk).
In their apt description of the “lovingly preserved historical edifice that is Paris’s Grand Palais”, the ‘Telegraph’ paints a rather messy picture of the setting. But with every French fête comes high drama, of course, so in this author’s humble opinion, the ‘Telegraph’ reporter in question should hardly be surprised.
What do you think of this year’s collection? Which pieces would you buy (if you could afford it!)?Image credits:
1 & 13. Paris Haute Couture: Chanel, AF via Telegraph Fashion
2-6, & 8-12. Chanel Haute Couture AW 13 Défilé, via Vogue.fr
7. Elena Perminova, via The Fashion Spot