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Lucire 2011 ’Twenty-something The strength is in the details, as Chanel’s haute couture show took the audience back to its prewar roots

Midnight magic at Chanel

Chanel’s autumn–winter 2011–12 haute couture collection was set in a re-creation of the Place Vendôme, as Karl Lagerfeld masterfully taps once more into the soul of Coco, writes Vicki Matias



VIEWERS WERE TAKEN BACK IN TIME to Chanel’s golden era of the 1920s, with the recent autumn–winter 2011–12 haute couture show.

Paris’s Grand Palais was transformed into a night-shrouded Place Vendôme illuminated by overhead twinkling lights, much like stars set into a dark midnight sky, accompanied by graceful transparent street lamps. With the catwalk glistening just like after rainfall, the models stepped out one by one for an evening promenade, set to Michel Gaubert’s soundtrack of English pop sparked with notes from Stravinsky (Coco Chanel’s lover in the ’20s). It was a charming yet mysterious atmosphere to match the show’s theme of Coco’s own life story, fittingly titled Les Allures de Chanel.

Double-breasted tweed jackets done up with jewel buttons, straight or slightly flared at the waist with godets paired with pencil or discreetly A-lined skirts came out first on show. Each outfit was matched with pretty little hats decorated with feather and lace veil appliqué. The look for the signature tweed jacket this season is rounded shoulders finished with a loosely fit three-quarter-length sleeve and cropped at the waist or full length. Two-toned boots with contrasting toe in black or white, and tulle or leather fingerless gloves embellished with Swarovski appliqué, made up the accessories. Long fishtailed dresses or “lamp-shade” silhouettes, made popular by early twentieth-century Parisian designer Paul Poiret, appeared in silk, chiffon or lace adorned in sequins or beads, often featuring heavily ruffled necklines, finished off the show.

Although the collection was governed by sombre shades of grey, black, midnight blue with dashes of fuchsia, this did not detract from its rich texturing and delectable detailing. Instead, it created a secretive yet defiantly seductive character.

The show was not shy of celebrity fans of the Chanel brand with seats filled by Charlotte Casiraghi, Julia Restoin Roitfeld, photographer Mario Testino, Elle Fanning, Milla Jovovich, Lun-Mei Kwai, Joshua Jackson with Diane Krüger and Anna Mouglalis. •


Tatiana Santo Domingo, Charlotte Casiraghi, Mario Testino and Elle Fanning.


Vicki Matias is a senior writer for Lucire.



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Lola Saab visits Boucheron’s boutique at the Place Vendôme, where she indulges in the items that make up the house’s latest collection, Cabinet of Curiosities
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Lola Saab talks to Alber Elbaz as he reveals his thinking behind Lanvin’s autumn–winter 2011–12 menswear collection
photographs courtesy Lanvin


Charlotte Casiraghi and Mario Testino

Lun Mei Kwai

Milla Jovovich

Anna Mouglalis






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