Bangkok's followers of fashion get to see the stunning collection designed by Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld that debuted in December in his home port
Inspired by its remarkable port and the love he has for his native city, veteran German designer Karl Lagerfeld chose Hamburg and the magnificent Elbphilharmonie concert hall to present the 2018 Chanel Metiers d’Art collection.
Thai fashionistas didn’t have to travel that far, as Chanel (Thailand) recently brought the collection to Warehouse 30, Bangkok for a press preview.
Drawing on the past, present and future of the city, the designer infused images of the Hamburg port, with gliding silhouettes of the merchant navy crew that he disrupted with the modernism of Chanel. He revisited their wardrobe, re-appropriating pea coats, drop-front trousers, sweaters and immutable caps.
Lagerfeld further enlarged this concept of masculine and feminine by multiplying the details and reinventing the codes of the House to create a unique, daring, confident and ultra-feminine attitude. The result was a graceful line, a look punctuated with sailor collars, jackets that were more or less fitted, long redingotes, mini-skirts and extra-wide trousers designed to feminise this 76-strong crew of “sailors who haven’t taken to the water,” he told his audience in Hamburg.
Wearing caps pulled firmly down or veiled with a tulle scarf, their hands swathed in fingerless gloves, the models had their legs wrapped up in long knitted socks and wore bobbin-heeled brogues with beaded bows.
Tweed was accompanied by broadcloth, cashmere and flannel while silk crepe alternated with chiffon and jersey. Woven patterns drew inspiration from the bricks of buildings that surround the docks in the port and the stacks of multicoloured containers that arrive by cargo ship while buttons take the shape of precious anchor bolts and braided woollen threads evolve into downy cordage. Feathers, embroidery, rhinestones, mother-of-pearl and beads, meanwhile, hinted at a sophisticated evening at the Elbphilharmonie. Black, beige, grey, navy blue, brick, pinstripes, flashes of gold and red made up the minimalist palette.
With a flared cut, the Chanel jacket morphed into a pea coat. Another one, longer with a high collar, was high waisted for a broader drop. The drop-front trousers were widened and came in both short and long versions, braided down the seam with a tuxedo grosgrain ribbon. In contrast, the straight skirt became “a sailor skirt”, with a waist marked by a double-button drop-front.
The iconic tweed suit was embellished with a sailor collar knotted with a regatta scarf and worn with a mini-skirt.
Another was wrapped up in cashmere, the collar closed with rows of pearls. The trouser suits in vertical or horizontal pinstriped wool were fastened with an officer’s collar and open cuffs on a trompe l’oeil in white cotton pique. The captain’s spencer jacket was worn over a wide-legged jumpsuit and his long redingote came woollen corduroy or in knitted tweed. A slender coat featured a trompe l’oeil jacket and his overcoats with a slightly curved back in checked tweed or navy blue ribbed wool were fastened with anchor bolt buttons.
Certain jackets and certain trousers were sequinned, recalling the red-light districts of Hamburg, where the sailors seek refuge on land, to the sound of ditties played on the accordion, an instrument that Karl Lagerfeld transformed into a little bag with a shoulder strap.
Worn with a godet pencil skirt, a woven tweed jacket assumed the tones of the sun reflected in its windows. A dropfront sailor’s skirt in black-and-gold tweed or in black satin was worn with a blouse in crepe and a large regatta scarf, or in chiffon with an open-work sailor collar in Valenciennes lace. A suit was covered entirely with mother-of-pearl, a pair of wide-leg trousers sparkled in sequins and quilted jackets were worn over leather trousers.
For a night at the concert hall, Lagerfeld suggested fluid straight sheath dresses in midnight blue crepe with sequin-embroidered sailor collars alongside flounced skirts in silk tulle and a military waistcoat in embroidered tulle and lace. Long asymmetric dresses in iridescent crepe opened to reveal mini dresses of multicolour sequin-embroidered tulle.
Lagerfeld transformed the casual striped sailor top so dear to Gabrielle Chanel into a dress embroidered entirely with painted feathers, collar and cuffs in sequins and precious stones and also lengthened it with a satin skirt hemmed with feathers.
In terms of accessories, the fetish sailor’s bag was secured firmly on the shoulder, ready for a long voyage at sea, the minaudieres taking the form of containers and life buoys. Chanel’s Gabrielle bag was dressed with an elegant checked tweed in colours typical of the city of Hamburg’s brickwork. Marine anchors appeared on earrings and brooches while their chains becoming sautoirs and bracelets improvising as cordage.
With this collection, Lagerfeld spoke about a look and an attitude. Masculine was more feminine than ever when the latter was rendered more virile with a cap and understated rigorous lines. The Chanel woman is unique and inevitably stands out; “dress a woman in black and white at a party and you’ll see only her,” affirmed Gabrielle Chanel.
In Hamburg, Lagerfeld added mystery and depth. With the utmost elegance.