Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CHANullification: Do's and Don'ts of Pre-Fall 2009

DO: I love the sleek modernity of this look, which seems a bit more Jil Sander than the rest of collection, but with just the right amount of high impact costume jewelry to keep it completely Chanel.  Plus, the headpiece is to die for.

So normally I try to hold off on doing collection commentaries (it's not like we need more opinions floating around the internet), especially of the negative variety, but I have to say, Chanel's Moscow inspired Pre-Fall collection has gotten under my skin. I've been trying to ignore it. A couple of weeks ago W.W.D. arrived at the showroom with the image of what looked like a costume from the Metropolitan Opera on the cover. I have to say, that when Ashley and I flipped to the spread, we let out a collective gasp and gag. I don't want to say that the clothing is ugly, and as always, I am a big fan of the accessories (chandelier sized headpieces and Faberge egg styled bags are made for would-be trannies like myself), but really the collection seemed completely lacking in any sort of modern appeal. I felt like I could smell the mothballs wafting from the pages. I know it's immaculately constructed, and I'm sure if I took a close look at the garments and got to touch them, I would probably swoon, but from the pictures, all the details looked fussy and overwrought, and seemed more old-fashioned than old-world (as I assume it was meant to appear). I tried to give the collection a second chance when I flipped through it on Style.com, and then decided to put it to rest.

Then, last night I came across this article on Cathy Horyn's blog, and was fascinated by the outpouring of lengthy, didactic responses elicited. In my mind, I imagine them all to be written by middle-aged high school Art History teachers, bored luxury shopkeepers whiling away time in their empty stores, chatty museum docents with no one to talk to, and effete elder men with extensive doll collections, who apparently spend their leisure hours spinning out essays in the comment section of the New York Times blogs.  Apparently I'm in good company.  This comment, which turned into a socio-political commentary rife with historical and cultural references, was particularly fascinating.

While I spent the better part of an hour reading them and still wasn't able to get through the bulk of it, the general opinion of the collection seemed mixed. While some cited Karl's legacy of timeless craftsmanship, and studious attention to Russian history, others felt similarly to myself, stating that the collection looked like a facsimile from some Russian Cultural Institute of National Costume (I don't know if this actually exists) with few traces of contemporary relevance and perspective. Many also irritably deemed the collection inappropriate in this state of current economic crisis. Anyhow, while I am still left cold by the show, I am at least stimulated by the dialogue that it sparked, and I am interested in hearing what others think of the collection...

DON'T: This look was apparently inspired by Russian Constructivism.  I think El Lissitzky would be insulted.  This gaudy, metalic-sheen take on his Suprematist paintings looks like it came from the poor-man's-Rei-Kawakubo style "wearable art" boutique down the block from my apartment.

DO: Ok, so this look isn't going to go down in the history books, but it's entirely cute and wearable, and I love the mushroom dome embroidery, mixed with the miss-matched scarf, which seems slightly more young and contemporary than the rest of the looks.

DON'T: This floor length coat has the same embroidery as the dress above, yet the added length, layers, and accessorizing not only make the look weightier and frumpier, but has the appearance of being stolen from the set of a theatrical adaptation of Doctor Zhivago.

-Tiffany

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5 comments:

Ian Brown said...

After watching the silent movie Lagerfeld made for the show I was curious to see how he would translate the ideas into clothes. Like you I wasn't blown away. It had some moments certainly but it reminded me of a muddy version of Alexander McQueen's indian princess inspired collection of last year. The menswear looks were similarly unremarkable.

Pammy said...

Hey Tiffany, I'm so glad you like the necklace! I'm thinking of launching an etsy store. I'd like to comp you a necklace if you'd like.

Pam

Voodoo Child said...

Nice breakdown. I agree about the 3rd look.

Lluviaschick said...

I didn't really like the prefall of chanel but it's quite close to haute couture this time...

[Tara] said...

I adored this collection -- so over-the-top and costume-y...I just loved the historical feel and enjoyed his mixing of pattern, texture, and material. It inspired me -- that hasn't happened in while from a collection.