Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 ready-to-wear collection is a breath of fresh air.
LIKE a colour-rich abstract painting, Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 ready-to-wear collection exploded onto the runway under the majestic glass dome at the Grand Palais when it was shown late last year.
The ingenius setup inspired by an art exhibition, with walls lined with paintings, installation art and sculptures, provided the backdrop for creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s beautiful pieces.
Models in “helmet-hair” wigs and colourful “paintbrush stroke” eye make-up strutted down the runway wearing more than 80 art-inspired looks, each being classy and chic, with a little bit of edge and fun.
These were literally walking masterpieces, with Lagerfeld creating a common ground between art and fashion by appropriating painters’ palettes and materials.
Taking cues from the likes of paintings, oil canvases, installation pieces, graffiti and fine art, dresses, skirts, jackets and trousers formed perfectly put-together looks made from a collection of ecclectic ideas.
“The prints are like brush strokes,” explained Lagerfeld, “There are more than 150 colours.”
Indeed, the clothes were a visual delight, with shades of red, yellow, blue, green and pink appearing in pastel, bright or flourescent shades.
Of course, Chanel’s familiar black, white and navy were at play as well, making bold statements on their own, as well as being incorporated into some “colour chart” pieces.
The House’s iconic tweed was woven from ribbons of chiffon, organza, lace and scoubidou (a French painting and knotting craft) threads, also on some pieces it was frayed and torn to give the collection a very raw feel, a welcome breath of fresh air for the brand.
This rich and vast collection of materials included stretch knits, double sided crepe de chine, silicon motif printed lace, rubberised guipure, leather, pearl embroideries and countless fabrics and rope braiding. Sometimes giving the impression that materials, colours and cuts were thrown in to the mix without much thought, a closer look reveals the genius behind the collection.
Details all had to do with some element of art – bright colours resembled a painter’s palette, tattered hemlines looked similar to canvases and even spray-paint graffiti street art was honoured in the form of several grey drop-waist frocks.
Traditional suit tailoring was given a twist by combining three, four, and five pieces: a lace top and skirt-culottes worn beneath a dress, jacket or a skirt. The quintessential Chanel jacket comes in a multitude of different versions, sleeveless and slender cut, supple and belted, with the collar shifted to one shoulder, or cut away over the bust and framing square shoulders.
A great variety of skirts too, are worth mentioning – some were long with side slits, open over leather shorts, full and short or part of straight apron panelled dresses, made with tweed or leather to form a rectilinear silhouette.
Each outfit was completed by two-tone pumps with socks included, and accessorised with massive pearls: worn around the neck like an earphone, or as rings, cuffs, and long necklaces.
The collection included wide-legged trousers in block colours worn with mini sweaters, knotted at the waist and around the back, giving off a youthful vibe. More art elements appeared in dresses in crochet knits, concrete-effect leather and pieces with a stencilled finish.
Arty motifs appeared on stretch-knit tops, while bra tops and skirts were ruffled in rubber and cord guipure. Evening wear in a more formal black and white palette came in the form of short dresses with guipure, or long dresses assymetrically cut.
Almost-transparent chiffon and organza skirts and tops embroidered with pearls and stones completed the collection, with ecclectic accessories, backpacks and totes adorned with mosaic complementing the apparel.
Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2014 ready-to-wear collection was indeed a refreshing one, its colours, cuts and materials exuding a youthful allure that is over-the-top and classy all at once.
The collection will be available in stores in March 2014.