Rodeo drive

Chanel threw a Texan hoe­down in Dal­las to present their Metiers d’Art 2013/2014 collection.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By DZIREENA MA­HADZIR star2@thes­tar.com.my

DAL­LAS? Re­ally? That was prob­a­bly on the mind of most people when they heard where Chanel was pre­sent­ing its Metiers d’Art (Pre-Fall) collection.

Metiers d’Art is al­ways highly an­tic­i­pated, as the collection is made by ar­ti­sans and crafts­men un­der Chanel’s Paraf­fec­tion com­pany (set up to pre­serve ar­ti­san work­shops) – Mas­saro (shoe­maker), Mai­son Lesage (cou­ture em­broi­ders), Le­marié (feath­ers), Des­rues (but­tons), Guil­let (flow­ers), Causse (gloves), Goossens (gold and sil­ver­smith), Bar­rie Knitwear and the Bodin-Joyeux tan­nery (they make the lambskin leather for the famed quilted bags).

These spe­cial col­lec­tions have gone from Lon­don to Moscow, Shang­hai, Bom­bay and Scot­land, in ex­trav­a­gant shows. And now the lat­est, the Paris-Dal­las collection, has landed in Texas.

So why ex­actly Dal­las? With Chanel, it’s al­ways about the con­nec­tion. Af­ter all, this is a house that digs deep into its his­tory to pull out ten­drils they can weave to­gether to form a story that be­comes a collection.

In this case, it was es­sen­tially a “re­turn” to that his­tor­i­cal con­nec­tion.

Dal­las re­vis­ited

In 1957, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, ar­rived in Dal­las at the in­vi­ta­tion of Stan­ley Mar­cus, of Neiman Mar­cus. She re­ceived one of Neiman Mar­cus’ Fash­ion Awards and her collection was fea­tured in the store.

Dal­las was also a place Coco had vis­ited sev­eral times. In fact, there’s even a replica of Villa La Pausa (the mediter­ranean villa she built in 1927) at The Dal­las Mu­seum of Art.

The United States was a place close to her heart. When Coco re­turned to show her col­lec­tions in Paris in 1954, she was met with lack­lus­tre re­sponse, ex­cept from the Amer­i­can press who adored her.

Hence the con­nec­tion and the short film di­rected by cre­ative di­rec­tor, Karl Lager­feld, ap­pro­pri­ately ti­tled The Re­turn. The film saw Geral­dine Chap­lin as Coco and it was fea­tured be­fore the fash­ion show.

So there we were, at the Fair Park (this was

in De­cem­ber just af­ter an ice storm), which had been trans­formed into a drive-through cin­ema from the 50s com­plete with vin­tage cars, pop­corn and ice-cream. Yes, we ac­tu­ally watched the film while sit­ting in a vin­tage car! That was quite an ex­pe­ri­ence, though we couldn’t open the car door to get out, so some­one had to open it for us.

Plenty of celebri­ties were there decked out in Chanel, of course, and Kris­ten Ste­wart (the face of the Paris-Dal­las collection), Dakota Fan­ning, Alexa Chung and Lily Collins were among the fa­mous faces sighted.

Then it was on to the show it­self, held at the same venue, and Chanel had ac­tu­ally recre­ated a rodeo, com­plete with straw and benches. You al­most ex­pected cow­boys and horses to come out! In­stead, we got the collection.

Go west

Lager­feld saw the collection as Old Texas and a more so­phis­ti­cated ver­sion of cow­boys; this was Chanel, af­ter all. Think the Stet­son, cow­boy boots, fringes, chaps, denim, peas­ant blouses and feath­ers.

De­spite that, there were still the clas­sic Chanel touches – the tweed suits, pearls and the colours of black, white and beige were still seen.

There were beau­ti­ful wear­able pieces, from the slouchy pants, to the leather jack­ets and the long skirted tweed suits. This was the work of ar­ti­sans, and it showed in the gor­geous de­tail­ing and worksmanship.

Heavy blan­kets were fash­ioned into capes and coats, and there were Navajo-in­spired jew­ellery, fringed pon­chos and ea­gles’ wings as pat­terns. I par­tic­u­larly liked a black jacket with dou­ble but­tons with a pan­elled skirt, and while a pale blue crop top paired with a crop cardi­gan and denim and suede jeans com­plete with match­ing boots and hat seemed rather over the top, it did make for a

I ad­mire and love Amer­ica. It’s where I made my for­tune. For many Amer­i­cans ... I am France. — Gabrielle Chanel, as quoted by Paul Mo­rand in the al­lure of Chanel

strik­ing ap­pear­ance.

There was noth­ing par­tic­u­larly new or rev­o­lu­tion­ary, it was sim­ply a beau­ti­fully-made collection that paid homage to the Texan out­back of Lager­feld’s imag­i­na­tion. While some have deemed it po­lit­i­cal­ly­in­cor­rect due to the feath­ered head­dresses and Na­tive Amer­i­can in­flu­ences, fash­ion is a mat­ter of in­ter­pre­ta­tion, and one tailors a re­ac­tion to a collection from one’s own ex­pe­ri­ence.

In other words, you can choose to view it pos­i­tively or neg­a­tively, and that is en­tirely your own re­ac­tion.

The ac­ces­sories are most prob­a­bly the most re­lat­able to the pub­lic. There’s never a short­age of Chanel quilted bags, pearls and cos­tume jew­ellery, and there were sev­eral ab­so­lutely gor­geous pieces on dis­play.

The night didn’t end there, Chanel threw a fab­u­lous af­ter­party, where they recre­ated a western sa­loon com­plete with a me­chan­i­cal bull (the most pop­u­lar ride of the night), line-dancing lessons, a per­for­mance by Bri­tish band Hot Chip and plenty of down-home food – steak, na­chos and even Frito pie!

The next time you’re do­ing the wild west, take your cue from Chanel, and as Lager­feld swag­gered on the straw run­way to take his bows post-show, there was no doubt who ruled this Texan hoe­down.

Denim blues with a pearly twist from the Chanel Paris-Dal­las collection. – Photo by Chanel

Chanel’s Texan lasses walk­ing down the rodeo-style run­way.

This Sept 7, 1957 photo pro­vided by the deGolyer Li­brary at South­ern Methodist univer­sity shows fash­ion de­signer Coco Chanel (left) and neiman Mar­cus leader, Stan­ley Mar­cus in dal­las.

It’s all about the fringes.

Heavy pat­terned woolen blan­kets are turned into coats.

A beau­ti­fully cut dou­ble but­toned jacket paired with a pleated skirt, per­fect for Fall.

DAL­LAS

The 50s style drive-through with vin­tage cars.

Puffed sleeves and loose pants combo make for an in­ter­est­ing look.

Na­tive Amer­i­can in­flu­ences seen from the feath­ered head­dress to the fringed trousers.

The clas­sic Chanel tweed jacket western-style.

Gor­geous striped coat paired with red dress.

Floaty skirt with striped top for a more ca­sual en­sem­ble.

Tex mex meets prairie.

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