Five commandments of classic French chic selon Chanel

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

‘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.

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 - www.MyFrenchLife.orgHannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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. Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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.

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

It’s certainly something this author wishes she could pull off…

4. To thine French dress be true

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 - www.MyFrenchLife.orgHannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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.

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 - www.MyFrenchLife.orgHannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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).

Hannah Duke - Chanel Haute Couture AW13 -

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!)?

Tell us in a comment below, or use our social sharing bar to the left to tweet us (@MaVieFrançaise or @dukeofhannah).

Image credits:
1 & 13. Paris Haute Couture: Chanel, AF via Telegraph Fashion
2-6, & 8-12. Chanel Haute Couture AW 13 Défilé, via
7. Elena Perminova, via The Fashion Spot

About the Contributor

Hannah Duke

“I’m a Melbourne-based journalist, editor, photographer, and blogger dreaming of la vie européenne. I love all things French except for the pigeons: film, food, literature, fashion, and I indulge in this passion as often as possible! Find me on Twitter, or Google+.”

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  1. Judy MacMahon Jul 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM - Reply

    Oh, how I loove those French blue boots (sky-high boots – not in height, but rather in length) and I find it amazing how the House of Chanel continues to re-invent the tweed. Thank you, Hannah!

  2. Hannah Duke Jul 7, 2013 at 9:58 PM - Reply

    Merci Judy! Aren’t they amazing? Every time I see them, all I can think is “if only”…

  3. Alex Mealey Jul 8, 2013 at 6:54 PM - Reply

    I do like the tweed! I think thats what I would buy. Those tight, sky-high boots could be difficult to get on and off!

    • Judy MacMahon Jul 9, 2013 at 9:55 AM - Reply

      HaHa Alex, when it comes to amazing boots like these, perhaps that’s the price to pay!

  4. Hannah Duke Jul 9, 2013 at 9:58 AM - Reply

    Haha true Alex… 😉 And yes, Judy is right! Although I don’t think I could get them on in the first place…

    • Alex Mealey Jul 9, 2013 at 2:58 PM - Reply

      Haha, true 🙂 If you can get them on it would be worth it.

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