Sea Of Dreams

Natasha Kraal joined the au­di­ence at the world-fa­mous Elbphil­har­monie for Chanel’s stel­lar Métiers d’Art 2018 show, which fused mu­sic, ar­chi­tec­ture. and fash­ion in one glo­ri­ous night.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Contents -

full cir­cle, they say, fash­ion goes around and comes around. For Chanel, ev­ery­thing re­volves around Gabrielle Chanel, her cen­tury-old legacy kept aes­thet­i­cally alive in the hands of her ar­ti­sans with ev­ery cre­ation pay­ing homage to her epic life and loves, her inim­itable style and spirit. Some­times the thread is imag­i­nary—“the Shanghai of her dreams” set the stage for the Chanel Pre-Fall ’10 show I at­tended in a fan­tasy barge on the Huangpu River. But there was a par­tic­u­lar dif­fer­ence with the Chanel Métiers d’Art ParisHam­burg ’18 col­lec­tion. This time, it was the story of Karl Lager­feld, who was born in the north­ern Ger­man state and his­tor­i­cal port city in 1933—al­though he claims to be younger than his 84 years—and lived there un­til he was sent to Paris for his sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, there­after sky­rock­et­ing into fash­ion when he won the In­ter­na­tional Wool Sec­re­tar­iat prize in 1954. Ham­burg, how­ever, has al­ways re­mained in his imag­i­na­tion, he ex­pressed, a part that never left, and one he stylis­ti­cally ro­man­ti­cised for his lat­est Métiers d’Art ex­trav­a­ganza staged at the newly minted Elbphil­har­monie con­cert hall. It was here, in the Her­zog & de Meu­ron-de­signed ar­chi­tec­ture on the his­toric Elbe river that his per­sonal col­lec­tion for Chanel criss-crossed down the stairs and through the “vine­yard” walk­ways of the state-of-the-art au­di­to­rium. To the haunt­ingly beau­ti­ful strains of “La Paloma”— prac­ti­cally the hymn of Ham­burg, where in 2004 the song en­tered the Guin­ness World Records for be­ing sung by the largest choir of 88,600 peo­ple—saun­tered the 87-strong col­lec­tion of sea­far­ing Six­ties, in­spired by the men’s sailor uni­forms of that time, each look topped off per­fectly with a fetch­ing elb­segler cap by way of The Bea­tles (who cut their first al­bum here) by milliner Mai­son Michel, some wrapped al­lur­ingly in tulle, oth­ers em­bel­lished for dra­matic flair. Score af­ter score, classical crescen­dos to elec­tronic pulses, played the live or­ches­tra helmed by young Bri­tish cel­list Oliver Coates (so cool in a hoodie and sneak­ers!), as the mod­els took to stage, like mys­te­ri­ous hero­ines and capri­cious so­cialites from a James Bond movie circa Sean Con­nery. The au­di­ence was rap­tur­ous, and the band played on ... Lager­feld has fa­mously said that he’s never sen­ti­men­tal, and ever the fu­tur­ist, but this could be the fine equi­lib­rium be­tween the Ham­burg of his dreams, un­der­scored by his fash­ion-for­ward­ness. The build­ing it­self, in the man­ner of his mag­nif­i­cent show sets, is even more sym­bolic. The El­phi, as en­dear­ingly known by Hanseat­ens, hous­ing the largest and most acous­ti­cally ad­vanced con­cert hall de­signed by renowned acous­ti­cian Ya­suhisa Toy­ota, and de­fined by its curved 1,000-glass-panel façade that re­flects the sky, sun, sea, and city, sits cu­ri­ously atop the city’s old­est ware­house Kais­pe­icher, all brick-brown and built in 1875. Therein this old and new, his­tory and the fu­ture, the fu­sion of perfect stylis­tic har­mony of con­trast­ing colours, char­ac­ter ma­te­ri­als, and com­po­si­tional lines in­spired the aes­thetic en­ergy of the Pre-Fall col­lec­tion. Sim­i­larly, it makes the very ethos of Chanel’s spec­tac­u­lar Métiers d’Art—its 16th since de­but­ing in 2002— that show­cases the metic­u­lous hand­work, pre­cious fab­rics, and elab­o­rate tech­niques of its ex­clu­sive 11 ar­ti­sanal workshops, giv­ing them fresh moder­nity within this ex­trav­a­gant ex­er­cise. “Fash­ion­ably el­e­gant” best de­scribes Chanel, what more with the clas­sic sailor theme, here open­ing with an all-navy-blue series of ca­ble-knit jumpers, styled into dresses with match­ing thigh-high leg warm­ers, as the men wore sweaters with sailor pants, pipes in hand and sea­man sacks on. This segued into reg­i­mented uni­form looks of three-piece suits and heavy frock coats in striped grey flan­nel, and check­ered pea coats gussied up with glass-beaded star, an­chor, and lion strass brooches by cos­tumer jeweller Des­rues. Set­ting the tone of the col­lec­tion, Chanel also show­cased the star ac­ces­sories: patent spool-heeled brogues by shoe­maker Mas­saro, adorned with em­bel­lished bows by Des­rues; and the nov­elty ac­cor­dion bag that de­buted with the very first look on, nat­u­rally, Ger­man model Anna Ew­ers—said to be Lager­feld’s “lat­est” Claudia Schif­fer.

tex­tures and colours picked up in mul­ti­tone tweeds, some jostling with their boxy jack­ets and long coats, oth­ers fab­ri­cat­ing the gothic brick­work of the his­toric Spe­ich­er­stadt ware­houses, or il­lu­mi­nat­ing the unique curvi­lin­ear­ity of the El­phi. In hand, a dou­ble case of a cargo con­tainer min­audière or a minia­ture buoy master­piece, tongue-firmly-in-cheek. Brick-brown made a pow­er­ful shade, taken from the old ware­houses, in con­trast to the iri­des­cent charmeuse and metal­lic mo­saics ap­pro­pri­ated from the El­phi in Lager­feld’s elo­quent play of past and fu­ture, mu­sic in sur­round sound. What I loved most were the unique navy-and-white sweaters by Bar­rie, the Scot­tish cash­mere ate­lier ac­quired by Chanel in 2012, knit­ted with in­tri­cate mo­tifs of sailing knots. Look 27 was worn with a mel­liflu­ous chif­fon midiskirt cinched with a be­jew­elled brooch, as stacked ban­gles and bracelets by Goossens an­chored the look with edge. Then came a ’60s mod minidress of feath­ers form­ing sailor stripes by Le­marié in the best case of cre­ative whimsy and sub­lime ex­e­cu­tion. The lat­est ad­di­tion to the ate­liers, Mai­son Lognon dis­played its unique skill with a hand-pleated silk satin jacket fash­ioned as a sleek win­ter puffer.

What’s Chanel with­out its but­tery black leather, this time cut into sailor cu­lottes and striped tu­nics, and crafted into a lace-ef­fect leather pea coat? And the gloves by Causse that were perfect ac­com­plices to each style—those fin­ger­less cash­mere arm warm­ers brought a whole level of cool to each look they ac­ces­sorised. For night, the rendering of oil-slick se­quins by Lesage on a two-piece tweed jump­suit, pris­matic em­broi­dery on cut-out dresses by Mon­tex, a wide-leg tuxedo or the all-vel­vet navy ver­sion re­de­fined clas­sic evening chic. Like a sweet poem to close, the fi­nal look was a fairy-tale dress of white feath­ers float­ing un­der­neath a gos­samer cape of em­broi­dered black flow­ers ... a reverie of light and light­ness with vi­o­lins on high, into the dra­matic fi­nale where Lager­feld took his bow to a re­play of “La Paloma”.

If any­one was look­ing for fash­ion cues, it was re­ally the cast of char­ac­ters in Lager­feld’s dream Ham­burg: the sailor girls and boys, the night­walk­ers ver­sus the of­fi­cers, the ’60s Beat­niks in their break­away styles and the bour­geois in­tel­li­gentsia, the gang­sters, and the aris­to­crats, all with a touch of the Bea­tles, who fa­mously launched their ca­reers on the fringes of the Reeper­bahn red-light dis­trict, and in­ad­ver­tently, the trend for the sailor cap. You have to know Lager­feld’s in­tel­lect and sense of hu­mour to to­tally get his unabridged fash­ion story—it’s about dress­ing the part with a touch of ir­rev­er­ence— plus some un­der­stand­ing of ’60s Ham­burg with its dark grit­ti­ness, salt-in­fused en­ergy, and cul­tural cre­ativ­ity. Take this all, and put it in one of the most im­pres­sive ar­chi­tec­tures of the 21st cen­tury—tune in mu­sic crafted like art— and there, ladies and gen­tle­men, you have the great­est show of the sea­son, writ­ten, di­rected, and pro­duced by the Kaiser as his home­com­ing opus.

Metal­lic tweeds and sea­far­ing sweaters, al­ways with a sailor cap Silk or­ganza em­broi­dered with oceanic waves by Lesage

Dou­ble trou­ble: tweed and tulle for days A play on pro­por­tions with an over­sized duf­fel

Satin puffer jacket and leather cu­lottes

The Her­zog & de Meu­ron­de­signed Elbphil­har­monie in Ham­burg

Look 53— dar­ing with a del­i­cate, soft chif­fon twist

Mariner chic chunky knits and cash­mere leg warm­ers

xxxxxxxxxx The grand fi­nale, where Lager­feld and god­son Hud­son Kroenig took the stage Black gros­grain brogues, Chanel

Back­pack in navy blue wool and black leather, Chanel

Min­audière in resin, metal, and strass, Chanel

Brooch in gold metal, resin, brass, and strass, Chanel

Mid­night blue and black cap in iri­des­cent wool and PVC, Chanel

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