Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Chanel Spring 2013 RTW: Euro-aero-chic

A few years ago one of my obsessions was and browsing runway fashion. (I had another blog at the time but I tried to do too much and the fashion part it kinda tanked but it was fun to look at and save a little archive on my laptop!) I got an idea of what the big designers were and a sense of their style, and accumulated my own favorites. It's been invaluable to developing my personal style, knowledge of the fashion world, and the "feel" and history of different styles and trends in fashion.

Coco Chanel and her fashion legacy will have to be an entire other post. Anyway, I normally wouldn't consider myself such a "Chanel girl" or even a mainstream "fancy lady" chic sort of person. But I gravitated to this collection immediately in a way I almost didn't for most of the other tweed-n-pearls sort of Chanel collections!  One of my favorite things, obviously, was the presentation with the giant wind turbines and solar panel runway.

For this show, Chanel turned the gorgeous paneled-glass interior of the Grand Palais, with its belle-epoch/industrial-age architecture that might remind you of coal, steam, and pollution, into a giant wind-and-sun farm, with wind turbines towering over the runway and solar panel-like floors, making it feel instead like a futuristic fresh-air meadow (it doesn't hurt that much of the Grand Palais is green!).  
Karl Lagerfeld said, "The wind and sun are free ... Energy is the most important thing in life. The rest comes later." Sustainable energy seemed to be theme, which is close to my heart, and he seems to have interpreted this as a lightness and brightness that he brought into the collection - capturing youth and vitality by way of timeless chic with an airy easiness, not heaviness as you might expect from Chanel, with its thick knits and straight lines. Or rather, Lagerfeld took those classic Chanel elements and reinterpreted them in a gravity-defying way.





One of the genius things about this collection is how light the shapes look, even in relatively heavy fabric; they either look windblown and flowy, like many of the skirts, or slightly inflated, like helium injected into the boxy jackets and A-line skirts. I have no doubt some of these pieces are probably physically heavy to wear, but the visual effect is incredibly weightless! For instance I love the geometric shapes of the tweeds and knits that float away from the body a little, and the ever so slight ballooning of the sheath dresses. Even the huge bunches of pearls as necklaces and bracelets look light, and remind of clouds (though I imagine they're pretty heavy!).

I think this collection appealed to me a lot for the airy volume at a time when I was just getting into "baggy" clothing and exploring the voluminous shapes I was a little afraid of, because I thought I would look short and stocky in them! But the shapes captured my imagination because of how breezy and cute they were while still being architectural and modern. It made me want to explore volume artistically, and not worry about being stick thin!

Another thing I love about this collection is the simplicity. Despite being all about simple lines, Chanel as a brand often comes off heavy, dark, and complex; on the other hand, this collection feels fresh, easy, and laid back. It feels sophisticated, but not cold. Overall, this collection feels cozy and free, as if you're taking a vacation from the being the uptight Chanel Woman and recharging your batteries, so to speak, with a lighter, sweeter version of chic. This style feels equally at home in the sleek modernity of the city, as well as the softness, color, and fresh air of the country.

I love the way this collection harmonizes blocky, modern architectural details and stark black/white and primary colors, with duller, more nature-inspired details and soft secondary colors. You can see this in the solid shapes and contrasting colors of the platform shoes, next to the diaphanous flower appliques and multi-hued chunky cotton weaves. One of my favorite things is the giant pearl bolted onto a gold band as a bracelet - it looks like some kind of industrial tool, but also reminds you of something ephemeral, like a bubble! My favorite thing of all is the little origami pinwheels sprinkled on a couple of the shirts and dresses; they are actually made of fabric, but look like paper or tissue paper, and echo the air theme and the big wind turbines that line the runway. I would love to have those pinwheels all over my house as well as my clothes!

Most of all, this collection creates an atmosphere that captures my imagination. It paints a picture of a little house in the country, in the middle of a bright meadow, with a windmill and solar farm that generates all its power. The "girl" who lives there wears breezy, comfortable clothes that also reflect the modernity of sustainable energy; her vitality and timeless style comes from nature and simplicity. It makes me imagine a world where everything is powered by wind, water, and the sun, and fashion reflects comfort, simplicity, and harmony. I can see the girl who wears these clothes strolling in a meadow, going shopping in town, or relaxing in her solar-powered living room. I fluctuate between imagining this world as a "steampunk" (or rather air-punk) sort of future world with airships and clouds you can sit on, or a supposedly real place, perhaps an artists' village somewhere in northern Europe or rural Japan that uses only sustainable energy.

I hope you enjoyed my vision of this collection and were inspired by it as well!

More about the collection on
Slideshow of the entire collection


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