Chanel: Autumn Winter 2012 Show Report

06 March 2012

With so many crystal stalagmites shooting up from the floor of the Grand Palais, anyone could have been forgiven for expecting a guest appearance from Superman and Lex Luthor at the Chanel show. We got Katy Perry. But she did have blue hair!

The season has been loaded with references to crystals and minerals. The YSL show was in the Museum of Minerology. At Christian Dior, Givenchy and Lanvin they were laid on liberally as decorations of choice.

Maybe, in times of shifting certainties such as these, we crave a connection to the age-old. Whatever the philosophy, it makes for some mighty fine shoes. Chanel's had heels that looked like stalactites trimmed with a froth of ice. Collars that were almost on the scale of breastplates were dusted with chunks of crystal and armfuls of matching cuffs turned a simple collarless coat into a statement. Hair was scraped into a severe ponytail and eyebrows blanked out and replaced with a trim of crystal strip.

Cinched collarless jackets over full skirts and raglan sleeved 3/4 length coats over skinny leggings were my favourite silhouette. The overall impression that bordered on futurist severity with origami tailored shoulders and bodices and panels of shiny leather turning reefer jackets into armoured protection, actually broke down into eminently wearable pieces. The slouchy, four pocket cardigan jacket over tunic dress, both in white wool; and the simple black crepe dress with jagged cutout neckline were highlights. Feather embroidered evening and cocktail pieces channeled some of the Chanel couture romance that draws us back to Paris like a magnetic force. To fashionistas, it's way more powerful than kryptonite.


by Paula Reed in Paris


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