SPRING-SUMMER 2013 READY-TO-WEAR
BY ELISABETH QUIN
Chanel showed the world more than just its take on fashion: the Spring-Summer 2013 collection presented at the Grand Palais on Tuesday morning was set amidst a field of wind turbines, and could have easily been a statement on going green!
With breezy, natural looks, unrestrained youth, mobility, understated luxury, empathy towards others and inventiveness, the show was a whimsical way to pass on a message for the fall of 2012: the winds of change are blowing with alternative energies and fresh new fashions!
Is Chanel poised to join American essayist Jeremy Rifkin, the third industrial revolution theorist who advocates for a low carbon economy?
The models walked the runway in looks flooded with fresh color: a purple pantsuit with a three-quarter sleeve jacket trimmed in emerald, a Klein blue suit and sack dress, a pink and mauve satin dress and pants ensemble, a crimson loose-fitting mid-length soft leather jacket, a sand-colored strapless washed lambskin micro-dress, and a stunning series of evening dresses in satiny brown with quilted effects that showcased transparency and fluidity.
The multi-colored version of the house's signature tweed (a textile “tour de force”) was an apotheosis of color, and looked absolutely stunning on a leg-o-mutton sleeve top and bubble dress ensemble trimmed in fuchsia. It was simply explosive with an ultra-colorful version used for a luxurious, striking shorts-jacket ensemble with puff sleeves, as well as a short loose-fitting dress with three-quarter sleeves embroidered with bronze sequins mid-thigh ("a strange golden bronze color," as Homer describes the island of Stromboli, Kingdom of Aeolus, in the Odyssey). Arrayed in an endless palette of summer colors, this tweed proved powerful in its visual impact.
Finally, white took to the runway with Peter Pan collars (a favorite of Gabrielle Chanel), Pierrot collars and a floppy bow on the front of a crewneck dress, as well as a tweed and white poplin polo dress, for an updated Suzanne Lenglen-at-Eden Roc look. White was also seen in the evening series with incredibly fresh and refined summer evening looks: white strapless dresses (two short and three long) in mesh or piqué, embellished with Rhodoid plastic flowers or pearls.
The silhouette for summer 2013 is long and slim (seen in Chanel's incredible use of black mesh for a pants set that is as elegant as it is graphic and sensual), and borders on androgynous, a classic attribute of the Chanel woman. Waists are cinched, perfect for strapless dresses (the highlight of this collection), mini-boleros and micro-jackets. Mile-long legs create symmetry and are showcased by micro-shorts and miniskirts while bubble dresses show off the ankles.
The collection's accessories are a perfect blend of timeless Chanel style and modernity: chunky, clustered "caviar effect" pearl bracelets and necklaces and oversized sun hats with transparent colored plastic brims.
Karl Lagerfeld has clearly designed and created a silhouette for a more youthful woman with greater impetuosity and sensuality who will be flawlessly carried by "a favorable gale, a fresh West Wind" (Homer) into summer.