THE FRENCH COLLECTION
The Fall-Winter 2015/16 Ready-to-Wear collection was unveiled within a bistro environment designed by Karl Lagerfeld which he named the "Brasserie Gabrielle". This larger-than-life "brasserie," an institution that has long embodied the Parisian lifestyle, was constructed inside the Grand Palais and perfectly conveyed the spirit of the collection.
Using vocabulary that its creator deemed "very French," this "French Collection" reinterprets the wardrobe of a modern "bourgeoise," a woman who exudes Parisian chic and cosmopolitan culture, who could grace the streets of any major city around the world. The "new bourgeoise,” as dubbed by Karl Lagerfeld, is accessorized day to night in beige and black slingback shoes with a squared heel. This is the first time since the designer's arrival at Chanel that he has explored this iconic shoe, of which he revamped its proportions. All 97 models of the collection wore these two-tone shoes, which make the legs look thinner and bestow a woman with confidence.
The silhouettes ranged from extremely feminine to sometimes androgynous, in colors such as navy, gray and burgundy and in prints such as tartan or houndstooth. The common thread of the collection was Chanel's emblematic tweed, which was reinvented in the form of zipped or preciously buttoned up coatdresses trimmed with woven braid. It also manifested in pencil skirts cut just below the knee or at calf-length, elegant suit-jackets and large wool coats, in jackets “à berthe” or with large collars, and in flowing skirts. The subtly flared silhouettes were fitted at the waist with a skinny belt. Urban and all about comfort, the elegant models wore bomber jackets whose fronts were reminiscent of a Chanel jacket, skirt suits or quilted coats, and embroidered parkas elevated to the status of an evening coat. Knit was omnipresent in both sporty and sophisticated styles with jacquard print sweaters paired with tweed skirts, oversized off-the-shoulder sweaters, elegant two-toned A-line dresses and long evening gowns.
Very striking, more androgynous silhouettes passed by in short box coats that revealed white shirts and plastrons, as well as long grosgrain-belted aprons tied nonchalantly around the waist. These simultaneously seductive yet casual aprons were paired with jeans, slim-cut leather pants or tweed dresses in the style of a neo three-piece suit. For evening, the looks were elegant and vibrant, including little black chiffon dresses, a trompe-l’œil two-piece suit with a bow tie and brilliant details inspired by folded brasserie napkins, transparent and layered effects, lace skirts and dresses, and spectacular skirts painted with feathers paired with woolen cardigans that revealed maxi sleeves also with feathers.
Françoise Claire Prodhon
© Olivier Saillant