Here is a rarity! Consider me speechless! Hard to explain but this presentation makes me believe that my skills are not adequate to assess this show with the proper dexterity but here’s my best shot….
At first the show is jarring to say the say the least. The bohemian styling and dishabille is so contrary to what one expects from Chanel but when dealing with the Kaiser, one should know there are no boundaries and nothing is out of the question. Karl proves himself smarter, savvier, younger, more modern and yes again, head and shoulders about the blah blah blah crowd. What immediately comes to mind is Dior at the hands of the incapable rifRaf if you catch my drift.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first... the fabrications range from the expected tweeds to the most astoundingly extravagant, the silhouettes are from the house menu to what you never thought you might never see at Chanel, the styling is completely and diametrically opposed to anything and everything that you ever thought you would see chez Chanel, and a severe paucity of accessories. The overall timber of the collection must be intended to make you sit up and take notice.
The clothes range from the most outrageous to the most wearable and yet it is all so Karl, so Chanel and so modern. He doesn’t miss a trick or a client. He has young, old, house staples and the never before seen. What Karl does is what rifRaf will and can never do and that is Karl works those ateliers until they beg for forgiveness. The reason he can do it is that he UNDERSTANDS the ateliers, Karl is a master and rifRaf is barely a remedial student when it comes to the glories of Haute Couture. Another interesting or maybe sad point of view is that Karl always manages to use the vocabulary of the brand while the overly puffed up self-important and inept neophyte wants to rewrite the vocabulary of a heritage brand to suit his shortcomings.
Cutting to the chase, the takeaway is this. Chanel stands for so many things and has been interpreted endlessly and expertly by having the wherewithal, talents, skills, vision and knowledge to do so... KL has distilled the DNA to a point that it seems almost impossible to err. Of course the other “one” only knows how to talk and therein lays the fly in the ointment and the difference between gold plated and platinum! There is good, there is bad... there are stinkers and there are pieces of jaw dropping beauty but they ALL fit into a massive collection and reminds us that this is what haute couture is all about.