A bewitching short-film created and directed by Karl Lagerfeld for the 2011/12 Cruise Collection, The Tale of a Fairy stars friends of House including Chanel ambassadress Anna Mouglalis, Amanda Harlech, and models Kristen McMenamy and Freja Beha. “It is a movie about an ill-advised use of money which begins with violence and ends with feeling,” explains Karl Lagerfeld. Below, Anna Mouglalis takes us behind the scenes…
Describe your character?
Anna Mouglalis: A scorned woman, living in her own bubble, melancholic, bored to death by everything surrounding her.
She is touched by grace after an encounter with a fairy – how does the encounter change her?
Anna Mouglalis: The fairy is the grace, the beauty, the Other… She gives my character the desire to open her eyes again, to see the love. My character becomes a completely new person.
How did direction from Karl differ from your experiences with other directors?
Anna Mouglalis: Even though Karl had pictured the whole story in his head before being on set, we discovered it as we were filming, improvising with Karl. He was creating the dialogue in a very playful way as we were going along. Filming with a big team usually makes the work harder but Karl made it feel like there was only us on set.
Paris-Bombay Métiers d'Art
Karl Lagerfeld names his latest collection Paris Bombay Métiers d'Art and speaks about 19th century India. "I like the idea of the Vice-King, that’s fun. That’s why I came out with Stella Tennant, because she looked very much like Lady Curzon, the famous Vice-Queen around 1900 who was a very beautiful woman. She is so English, but in the nice way, in the good image of England mixed with India."
Bombay, 1898. George Curzon, freshly appointed Viceroy of India, takes his place as the highest ranking official in British India. His wife, Mary Victoria Curzon, joins him as Vicereine. Her sophisticated beauty and style were to make a lasting impression that is still felt to this day.
Mary was an impassioned advocate of Indian culture and local fabrics. Her status gave her considerable influence in matters of style. She contributed to the design of a gold-embroidered gold-weave gown for Queen Alexandra of England, which was crafted in the same Chandni Chowk atelier in Delhi from which she supplied her own wardrobe.
This blend of English fashions and Indian inspiration was echoed in Mary’s lifestyle. She caused a sensation with the peacock dress she wore for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1903, a gold-stitched gown embroidered with the feathers of the famed Indian bird.
Lady Curzon fuelled the renown of Indian artisans by championing their skill and craftsmanship. She helped promote producers of fine fabrics by wearing Indian cloth in her own dress. She advised silk weavers and embroiderers, encouraging them to use motifs and weaves that reflected fashionable trends.
Painting by William Logsdail, "Mary Victoria Leiter, Marchioness Curzon in her Peacock Gown" (1909), photography by John Hammond © Bridgeman Art Library, Paris 2011
Photos © Benoît Peverelli
Karl Lagerfeld has chosen Alice Dellal to be the face of the Boy Chanel handbag collection.
The designer had a crush on this unique, charismatic young lady, who is both a model and musician, during a photo shoot several months ago. This previously unforeseen alliance finally became self-evident. Alice Dellal represents the perfect incarnation of all that is unique about the Boy Chanel handbag collection which strives far from conformist notions of femininity.
Ultra-modern, refined and mysterious, Alice Dellal is the latest in the line of Chanel muses, each boasting their own inimitable allure.
The advertising campaign shot by Karl Lagerfeld will be revealed in March 2012.
Amidst a fabulous banquet dripping with all the splendor of a Maharaja’s palace, the Paris-Bombay collection whisked us away to an exquisite India of glittering charms. Stepping into a dream-like fantasy far removed from the fall drizzle of Paris outside, guests were seated by sharply styled butlers at twin banquet tables laden with silverware, crystal, gold-leaf gilded fruit, and desserts piled high. A metal toy train paraded the Chanel logo as it wove its way through rose petals and garlands of jasmine.
Models sashayed forth in pearl-beaded tweed, silk tunics, brocade, saris and wraps, their foreheads, hands, hair and shoulders strewn with jewels. These Amazons of the East embody the utter refinement of the Métiers d’Art collection, a tribute to the master craftsmanship of artisans.
Photos © Olivia da Costa
The scent of jasmine escapes from the Galerie Courbe of the Grand Palais; unusual for Paris in the month of December. Industrial metal rafters heave under the strain of immense crystal chandeliers. Aging brick walls are covered in pale grey marble fashioned into the façade of a Mughal palace. A dream-like fantasy. Baskets laden with mangoes, roses and pistachio nuts bask in the golden glow of candlelight. A silver toy train chugs steadily along yard after yard of electric track mounted on a princely banquet table of such lavish proportions never seen west of Jaisalmer.
Smoke billows out of a Chanel-double-C-branded chimney. This charming Dar(jee)ling Express is an allegory of the presentation: traveling without moving, beyond the constraints of time, to an imaginary India recreated in the Maharajas’ palace of the Grand Palais by Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel to honor the Métiers d’Art so prized by the House. It is a perfectly obvious match: India is made for Chanel. Coco Chanel herself designed a number of pieces inspired by Indian dress in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Materials drip with opulence: silk brocade, gold and silver lamé, crepe, duchess satin, pearls, embroidery, hand-painted Mughal floral motifs, and cascading pearls.
Androgynous traditional dress takes a lighthearted, eminently graceful leap: fitted white jodhpurs under a white tweed jacket; sinuous “salwar” pajama pants worn beneath flowing “kameez” tunics studded with rhinestones or emblazoned with golden sheaves of wheat against a black background; saris and harem pants paired with exquisite salwars or soft white zipped leather thigh boots stamped with motifs, in rhinestone-studded pomegranate velvet. Typically sensuous draping flows freely in a rustle of harem skirts, the signature piece of this collection. We love the rhinestone-sprinkled military frock coat, the various interpretations of the “achkan”, and the brocade coat with classic Nehru collar, glinting with mirror-embroidered pockets or studded with baroque pearls.
We are yearning after the biker-inspired military jacket embroidered with a dazzle of gold glitter and worn over a white paneled flared skirt embroidered with gold braiding, fit for a whirling dervish. We swoon at the sight of the diamante-shouldered jacket crackling with the deafeningly Indian heat of “rani” pink, sumptuously tamed by a tailored tweed jacket worn over gold lamé harem pants and a perfectly-proportioned black-and-pink tailored suit. And we are swept away in the fantasy of a white evening dress and its endlessly expressive “dupatta” scarf. The Fugitive, as the poet Rabindranath Tagore would describe it.
An array of virginal flat sandals makes for a free-flowing, youthful look, set off by neo-rock mojari-inspired pumps and gold-sequined flat ankle boots that hark back to the days of Swinging London. Jeweled leather and silver-chained fingerless gloves and disheveled rasta dreadlocks give a luxuriant hippie twist to the 1970s Goa vibe of Michel Gaubert’s psychedelic soundtrack.
This enchanting Métiers d’Art collection, a salute to master craftsmanship, ultimately glorifies an imaginary India. Yet its heroine’s ultra-modern look, both androgynous and feminine, is distilled from Indian spiritual heritage: Shiva and Shakti, male and female forces united and reconciled. The Chanel woman has found her dharma.
Photo © Olivier Saillant