Anyway, from the sporty and nautical inspired opening looks, Karl moved into more decadent, and what I imagine could be called "Venetian" territory. Chiffon dresses were printed with baroque scrollwork over the signature double-C logo. Mini dress and cardigan combos came covered with gilt embroidery or vaguely mosaic patterns. A stunning printed column with a Fortuny-esque kind of vibe came with embroidery around the collar and under the bust, and was cut to leave the sides completely exposed. And dropped waist chemise dresses came accessorized with gorgeous necklaces and bracelets that popped up throughout the show. This being a Chanel collection, there was, of course, a number of tweed suits. Some of them had the jackets worn open over a bra and girdle type thing peeking out from the high waisted skirt, and I have to admit, it was kind of refreshing. For some reason I tend to find the tweed suits, arguably Chanel's most well known look, kind of stuffy a lot of the time. It's just something about tweed itself, I suppose. But like I said, it was refreshing to see them worn with a sort of, I hesitate to say vulgar attitude, but it sure as hell didn't look stuffy. For me though this Chanel outing was all about the dresses. Each one of them just really easy and beautiful. There was a gorgeous Venetian red off-the-shoulder column with sheer sleeves, a strapless draped black satin number worn with an incredible drop necklace that hung all the way down to the waist, a short red lace number with buttons up the front and billowing split sleeves, and an ecru column with metallic beadwork forming a Y down the front. All of them had that sort of slinky glamour of the late-teens and 20s.
I think that's why I liked a lot of the collection. I find that Karl does some of his best work when he channels that sort of flapper side of Chanel. I don't know what it is exactly, maybe it's the ease and simplicity of the fashions that defined the era, as well as the fact that Coco herself helped to champion those ideals. Maybe it's that there's less room to go all out with the baroque embroidery and heavy detailing that Karl loves to indulge in. Thinking back, most of the Chanel collections that I've really liked over the years have had a bit of a 20s flavor to them, even if it wasn't overt. In a way I think the paired down presentation helped the collection as well. Not that renting out the stretch of beach, flying in models, crew and clothing, and making sure all of the guests were able to get there as well is what anyone would call understated. But there was something really pure about having the models walk a straight line up and down a runway, or boardwalk serving as a runway, with nothing but a natural backdrop and lighting to set the scene. I've grown a little tired (okay a LOT tired) of these monumental Chanel presentations lately with the huge sets and all of the "Chanelisms" crammed into each outfit. Something like this, more intimate, more special, and more restrained, just seems really appealing. I guess the whole thing, clothes, location, styling, show, all just clicked for me. Needless to say, I haven't liked a Chanel collection this much in a long time, and it's nice to know that Karl can still have that effect on me.
All images from Style.com