Karl Lagerfeld chose the Dendour Temple at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to present the CHANEL 2018/19 Crafts collection, Paris – New York. Inspired by the spirit of the place and the exceptional know-how of the CHANEL Fashion Art Houses, the creator performs a virtuoso, subtle and modern interpretation of the CHANEL style, making Egypt a palimpsest timeless.
“The Egyptian civilization has always fascinated me: I am inspired by an idea, that which I make of a reality,” explains Karl Lagerfeld. Clear lines and simple, pure forms, geometric, sharp: a graphic force dear to the stylistic grammar of the House. The silhouettes vibrate under the sun, drawing optical lines, almost kinetic.
The pace is slender, nervous, ultra-feminine, hips underlined by a wide belt, shoulders supported by a collar plastron. Day dresses, suits and coats are worn on the knee, hemmed with a slightly shorter round at the front, sometimes looking like a crossed wrap skirt. Gold, so dear to Gabrielle Chanel, is everywhere, with such variations that it becomes a color in its own right. Gold aged and weathered by time, dazzling gold of the sun, glittering gold, shimmering gold, crackled gold, flamboyant gold almost disco, gold drawing on bronze or bronze …
The leather is also part of this obvious modernity: it punctuates the pockets and collar of jackets, accentuates the rounded hem or plays with the stripes on the sleeves of a dress. Topic
full of creative innovations, it flirts with appearances: worked in relief, cracked or printed, it takes on the appearance of crocodile, iguana or python. Just like the iconic bags: the 2.55 is gratified with camellias and double C’s, the 11.12 is adorned with gold or sequins. As for the pockets, they are graphic minaudières or take the form of mini-pyramids.
Each silhouette is full of subtle details, sublimated gracefully by the Prêt-à-Porter workshops on rue Cambon. Thus, the pockets of a jacket are hidden in a drapery, the sleeves of the evening dresses open like butterflies, draw with a gold thread the triangle of a pyramid, where are folded by the Lognon House of black and gold bands, resuming the drape on the hips. Second-skinned long-sleeved dresses in fine white jersey accompany as a transparent breath miniskirts or jackets. The embroidery emphasizes the neckline, the curve of a hip, the bottom of a dress, like sumptuous jewels, sculpting the silhouette.
The graffiti artist Cyril Kongo, who made the invitations of the parade as well as the cover of the press kit, drew prints in blouson, dresses or bags, the graffiti transforming the cotton canvas into a precious fabric.
“New York, it’s an energy and a mix of cultures, it’s very stimulating,” says Karl Lagerfeld, multiplying the winks on New York street: a denim aviator jacket with patches stitched with yarn gold blends with a street art printed leather dress, red or orange leather trousers, as if lightly bomb graffiti, marries an XL jumper with very pop flat colors and a canvas bag as a bomb tag. The thigh highs made by Maison Massaro are printed with golden graffiti or neon pink, and their gold jewelry heels, underlined with enamel and enhanced with cabochons.
Street art, Art Deco, Antiquity, jewels like to multiply and entangle references, like Gabrielle Chanel in her time: gold mesh camellias, gold cuffs or twisted leather rushes, hammered and perforated medal necklaces letters from CHANEL, strassed flat chains that combine the colors of urban frescoes with the graphic lines of the buildings … As a benevolent sign, a CHANEL Art Deco jewel, dating back to the 1920s and featuring the “skyline” of New York, is reinterpreted in embroidery, on a breastplate, the sleeves and the bottom of a dress.
Karl Lagerfeld’s last nod to Egyptian civilization, the beetle. Directed by Maison Goossens from a mold by its founder, Robert Goossens, a great accomplice of Gabrielle Chanel, he punctuates many silhouettes: quilted, strassed, beaded, he makes himself a necklace, button, belt buckle, earrings or minaudière. The beetle, a cyclical symbol of the sun that is reborn every day, the union of past, present and future: a dreamed time according to Karl Lagerfeld, in the glittering shadow of a city that never sleeps.