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Spring-Summer 2009 Haute Couture

Underneath the glass roof of the Cambon-Capucines pavilion was like a giant pop-up book made of white paper. The grandiose décor was made up of monochrome arrangements of roses, daisies, leaves and petals winding their way up and around the room’s 32 impressive columns and draped over the railings of the entry stairway where the models appeared. Not to mention the 84 round tables with their tablecloths and paper bouquets. All in all, there were 7000 handmade paper flowers, which took a total of 4800 hours of work to assemble. 4000 m2 of paper were needed to create these ephemeral sculptures, all in one color, or more aptly the non-color of preference for Mlle Chanel: “Women think about all colors, except the absence of color. For me black has everything. So does white. They are absolute beauty. They are the perfect match. Dress a woman in white or in black at a ball and all eyes will be upon her.”

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Guests at the show

Spring-Summer 2009 Haute Couture

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Monochrome white

Spring-Summer 2009 Haute Couture

The last Chanel Haute Couture collection is like a new beginning: “A white page,” says Karl Lagerfeld, “a linear and timeless graphic interpretation. It’s like a starting point for the story of this new era, for which all the details still need to be written. That is why I chose paper as the theme for the couture collection this season.” The strong connection between Karl Lagerfeld and this theme gives this collection its intensity, “It’s also the fabric that I prefer most… I love paper! Everything begins on paper. Without paper I would be lost!”

This collection is minimal and extremely sophisticated. All of the luxurious details, from the embroidery to the fabric, are more suggested than overt. “It’s the new modesty” according to Karl Lagerfeld. These pure, graphic silhouettes often combine two elements: a short top and a straight skirt, both highlighted by lightness and fluidity. The skirts have discrete slits. The removable cap sleeves conceal the shoulders and allow for freedom of movement.

This monochrome collection is first and foremost a “game of lines and shapes,” continues the designer. Underneath the geometry and purity of the cuts, it’s the floral explosion of the embroidery and the minute details that discretely color this collection. The floral theme is found in the white roses and daisies, with embroidered flowers and petals from the ateliers of Lemarié and Lesage. It is also the inspiration for the sumptuous hairpieces that the Japanese artist Katsuya Kamo created for the collection. “There is something similar between a flower petal and a sheet of paper” says Karl Lagerfeld.

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Making of the spring-summer 2009 ready-to-wear campaign

A house in Vermont

As soon as Karl Lagerfeld saw the house in Vermont he knew he had found the setting for the next Chanel ad campaign. It is a typical New England wooden house, set on the banks of Lake Champlain, with a severe and puritan look that makes it seem like the house has been frozen in the mid 19th century. As the designer put it: "I love this house, it is so Emily Dickinson", referring to the tormented romanticism of the American poet from Massachusetts whose work went unrecognised during her lifetime.

It was in the empty rooms of this vast six-bedroom house that the designer photographed Heidi Mount - the 21 year old American model from Salt Lake City who opened the Spring-Summer 2009 Ready-to-Wear show.

Karl Lagerfeld has also said that the campaign shots are inspired by the work of the Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershoi, whose austere interiors with sunlight flooding in through the sash windows are the backdrop for silent feminine meditations.

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Paris-moscou - Key silhouette of the collection

For this season's Métiers d'Art collection, dedicated to the link between Paris and Moscow, Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by early 20th century Russian pictorial avant-garde. Virginie Viard, the Creative Studio Director at Chanel, and Karl Lagerfeld's right-hand woman, selected and decoded the details of a key silhouette from the collection, "this black taffeta dress plays with the contrast between geometrical beveled architecture and the delicacy of tulle frills.

The magnificent embroidered piece, made by the Atelier Lesage (over 110 hours of work) is directly inspired by Liobov Popova's painting, "Painterly Architectonics, 1918-19". On the shoulders, the black ottoman coat is cut at the waist for greater freedom of movement. Its volume is also a reminder of constructivist architecture. The shearling shapka, made by the Maison Michel, is rimmed with bead fringes and a minutely detailed golden crown. I would say that this silhouette connects the two faces of Moscow: the splendor of a prestigious heritage and the boldness of the aesthetic revolution."
The painting that inspired this dress is part of the exhibition "Russian Avant-Garde in the Costakis collection" at the Musée Maillol in Paris, until March 2nd 2009.

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The first movie by karl lagerfeld

"COCO 1913 - CHANEL 1923"

At a time when several movies about Mademoiselle Chanel’s life are being made, Karl Lagerfeld adds his personal touch by directing his first movie for the Paris-Moscou show. The designer was behind every detail: from the script to the set, as well as the casting and the editing.

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Paris-moscou 2008/9 after show

At the Ranelagh Theater, Paris

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Paris-moscou collection

Celebrities at the show

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The paris-moscou
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Atmosphere of a Russian cabaret

This year’s Metiers d’Art collection, “Paris-Moscou“ has been dedicated to the capital of a country and a culture that fascinated Gabrielle Chanel. For the presentation, Karl Lagerfeld chose the confidential Theatre Le Ranelagh in the sixteenth district of Paris. At the theater’s entrance, beautiful constructivist-style posters were hung up on the walls, announcing the show’s arrival to the theater. After the fashion event, the theater was transformed into a Russian cabaret, complete with a Slavic orchestra and vodka, while Karl Lagerfeld conducted his interviews on the stage.

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