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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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