Spring-Summer 2009 Ready-to-Wear
The rue Cambon moves to the heart of the Grand Palais
For the 2009 Spring-Summer show, Karl Lagerfeld rebuilt the façade of 31 rue Cambon, under the huge skylight of the Grand Palais, on a one to one scale. There was one important change: the street, made famous by Mademoiselle Chanel, is no longer parallel to the house but faces it and leads to it. The designer explains: this spectacular decor is not an exact replica; it is an idealization, a conceptual reconstruction. The backdrop of the show is the movie set and the show is like a short movie with models playing the part of Parisian ladies. "It's just like a Hollywood view," says Karl Lagerfeld.
In 1921, Mademoiselle Chanel set up her house in the center of Paris, at 31 rue Cambon. Her two-storey apartment is still in this building: four rooms filled with meticulously well-preserved treasures. There are also the Haute Couture salons that Mademoiselle Chanel would use for her shows and which Karl Lagerfeld redesigned according to the original feel. The three Haute Couture ateliers remain at the top of the building.
An original Chanel stamped fishing kit, with its quilted leather case and double C flies: without doubt the most unexpected fall 2008 accessory offered by Karl Lagerfeld to fishing lovers. It fits naturally into the history of the fashion house, echoing Mademoiselle Chanel’s passions. She was one of the first women to take on horse riding, dancing and golf, and started creating “sporty” pieces for her collections as early as the twenties.
The perfectly elegant Duke of Westminster introduced her to the joys of fishing and took her on many cruises in Italy, Scotland and Norway to fish for salmon. She tells her friend Marcel Haedrich, French writer and reporter: “I have learnt how to fish for salmon (…) I used to find it extremely boring, spending days throwing flies to catch fish was really not my thing; but I started doing it, fished from dawn to 11 p.m, and loved it. I must say I was very lucky, I fished in the best seas.” (Coco Chanel by Marcel Haedrich, Belfond 1987, p.103)
Karl Lagerfeld's exhibition of photos of the Château de Versailles and its gardens has just ended, but his project continues. The designer and photographer intends to publish a book. The profit of the sales of this book will contribute to the restoration of this heritage. The success of this exhibition must have a true meaning in the subconscious of French history, which appreciates Karl Lagerfeld's original point of view. He focuses less on the well-known architectural splendor and the monarchic glory, and more on the sad sculptures, whirling alleys and the obscure ponds: the viewers of this vanished world locked in a silence of stone.