Experienced fashionistas know how to see beyond brands and trends – at the end of the day, style remains after fashion fades, and your personal style speaks volumes, not the labels tucked into your clothing. At the same time, I think all of us seasoned fashion lovers can give a gold badge away to a designer that has outdone himself and a brand that has transcended time, time and time again.
I don’t think I need to go much farther for you to know that I am speaking of one man and one brand in particular – Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel. We look to Chanel for inspiration, classics, and updates to those classics. If there were ever a brand or line that defined fashion and vice versa, it would be this famed French luxury house. The quilted purse and tweedjacket are as iconic as the logo itself.
So when Chanel Resort 2013 was presented to the world, it was with a little bit of shock with the sound of band Thrush Metal. Karl Kagerfeld called it “Coco rock, not rococo.” His description was right on point, but also a bit wrong. Rock it is indeed – the collection featured models with sharply shaped wings, platform creepers, ultra-minis, modern swimsuits, face stickers, and stark black and white mixes. But almost in a tongue in cheek manner, the collection also captured a more over-the-top but still feminine woman, featuring extremely full skirts, delicate and bold florals, and soft pastels. If there was ever a place in which Courtney Love and Marie Antoinette could meet, it was here at Chanel Resort 2013. And rest assured that there still were quite a few tweed jackets involved.
The verdict? A quick Google search reveals many fans, but also many questioning the collection. More I-can’t-wrap-my-head-around-this reactions pop up than those adamantly against the collection. So why, Karl?
One can only imagine how difficult it is to be a designer – on one hand, people expect something exciting and new from you every season, and you need to produce that because otherwise, would why people buy this season’s collection? Needless to say, artistic expression and one’s own personal style evolution should be taken into account as well. At the same time, fans expect a level of consistency. Alexander Wang does Alexander Wang…and he does it great. If Alexander Wang started doing Chanel, well, we’d just clamor for him to keep doing what he does best and let Chanel do Chanel.
In throwing a curveball into the line this season, Chanel took a chance. But chances are what propel fashion forward. They’re what made the 70s so compelling next to the 60s, and the 80s so striking next to the 70s. It wouldn’t have worked if Karl, like all of us experienced fashionistas, didn’t have the taste for what he does and confidence in his own vision. And I think there is something admirable about that that we can all appreciate and learn from.
By own standards, the collection was amazing, capturing so many elements and eras and combining them together almost seamlessly. Ruffled feathers so be it.