IN CONVERSATION WITH ...
A flash of tattoo makes this evening ensemble dangerously sexy Model Sui He in her armour-like jet beaded necklace
A private chat with Karl Lagerfeld at the accessorisation session.
KG: What was the idea for this collection and how important is Cruise? KL: I like the idea of colonialism but not its actuality. The long lean lines of the skirt [Lagerfeld points to a white number, look 42, with a generous cut-out in the front], the modern opening – not a slit, but an opening – in the front makes it very elegant. Cruise is not an in-between season collection. It is actually a very important collection. In Chanel, I design six collections a year and every two months we have a new collection, so that helps to keep the stores fresh, to have new offerings in the windows and displays, and new merchandise for customers. English waiter, who has been quietly doing his rounds, offers a hand and starts to tie the most traditional of knots before a causally dressed Pascal Brault, director of Chanel Sport, comes rushing in and immediately takes over the task. Finally, Lagerfeld walks up to the model and starts adjusting the tie as he sees fit. “It needs to fall like this, down to here and not too high.”
The next evening at Loewen Cluster on Dempsey Hill, where the Chanel Cruise collection was shown, that single earring that Lagerfeld insisted on suddenly made so much sense. It looked cooler than having two and didn’t look traditional. And that much-fussed-over Windsor knotted tie? It KG: What have you seen and liked in Singapore? KL: I love the Raffles Hotel and the Botanic Gardens when I drove past it yesterday. They are all very beautiful but I haven’t seen much of Singapore.There are also some very ugly buildings here. KG: What’s the major difference between designing for women today and thirty years ago? KL: I never look back. It’s about the now and the present. I always look forward and never back.The whole attitude and behaviour of women has changed so much. It’s a different world now.The women in Asia today all have this petite frame and body and are all so thin. So, this Cruise collection today will work very well for their body. KG: What did you want to introduce with Cruise? KL: I didn’t want to use much colour. Mostly just black and white, blue and cream because the last collection [Paris-Édimbourg] had a lot of colour and I wanted something fresh and calm. Also, in that period there wasn’t a lot of colour. KG: Why did you pick Keira Knightley to front your movie KL: I thought Keira Knightley looks so much like Coco Chanel – she has the same features and dark hair. And she is a much better actress. I didn’t think Anna Mouglalis played her well in that movie on Chanel. And Audrey Tautou, oh well, she was a disaster! made the French teenager look immediately grown-up yet brought that nuance of an English student when undone just so. With clothes and accessories so perfectly executed at Chanel, you need that nonchalance, that sense of imperfection, to make it hip and cool. Lagerfeld made some models walk with arms swinging and others with gentle gait and a boyish toughness. It demonstrated a rhythm he wanted. Play it with the boys for cool, tomboy chic and play it with the girls for a youthful exuberance. As Lagerfeld said, “I tried to capture moods from what she [Gabrielle Chanel] did in her early days ... there’s nothing folkloric, nothing retro or vintage about this collection.”
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