Paris Fashion Week A/W 2008-9: Chanel
...And speaking of conservative fashion, Chanel's Paris catwalk show was all kinds of pretty-and-demure, the lower hemlines and high necklines retaining a timeless elegance befitting the fashion house with the renowned heritage.
Inspired by the Chanel Mobile Art Exhibition that opened in Hong Kong last week, the special set was as impressive as the collection: a carousel kitted out with giant Chanel items (including enormous jacket, ballet flat, pearl bracelet, and Chanel No.5 bottle) took centre stage as the models encircled and then climbed onto it. Yet while the stage was kitch and overblown, the clothes were simplistic and rather more subdued. Tights were rampant, swinging from pale to patterned. Accessories were all but banned, and save for some sunshine-yellow eyeshadow, the chic austerity of the tweeds and chiffons were allowed to come to the fore.
Lagerfeld revisited Coco Chanel's notion of "poverty de luxe" with subtle distressing and darning, while keeping its air of reservation. From svelte suits to tiered gowns, there was something for everyone; there were even MENSWEAR on the catwalk. Shocker! Everything seemed finished with a light hand; from the gentle colour pallette, to the way in which each fabric was taken to the extreme: the silks were kept frothy, the knits web-woven and cosy, and the tweeds kept stiff and aristocratic. The result was a highly commercial collection that caters for many tastes while working the winter trends.