Posts tagged chanel

New Glamour In Your Life_

I came across these the other day, a series of photographs of Chanel packaging and cosmetic campaigns from the 20s through 50s. With Peter Phillips’ animation of Chanel cosmetics hot off zee press it seems quite timely to go back to the original Design Classics.

More so tan (sic) the clothes the graphic identity of Chanel never seems to date. Drool.


Once again, I’m drawn toward a Chanel ad campaign. It’s interesting to see how brands translate their catwalk message in 2D. Some show no product, some place emphasis on what sold the best, others on what reinforces their brand image the most. In all cases they strive to tell a story that will convince Joe Public to part with cash. However, in some cases an emphasis needs to be placed on con. (Both French and English meanings.) What I like about this image is that it makes you focus squarely on the product, the omnipresent circular framed glasses, but it also discreetly highlights, for an accessories campaign, the clothing. In this case The Chanel Polo. Its not just there to provide texture, colour and fill the space between chin and edge of page. And it isn’t there just to help Chanel shift polo shirts. It helps create the image by conveying a certain mood and attitude. [The Trendies seem to have moved on to square frames now, BTW – maybe a byproduct of Avatar and 3d cinema glasses.]

Yes, product. Red, beautifully set against a muted background. Shot from an unusual angle. Boy sees girl. Or the other way round. They connect. Or they don’t? TENSION. You’re drawn in. A film still from an Ingmar Bergman? It’s a subtle and mysterious image. I think the art direction here is superb.

There is this trend towards the cinematic. Colin McDowell wrote an interesting post on the subject in his blog. The recent beau-pic by Tom Ford, A Single Man, exemplifies this. I’m not so keen on Mr. Ford’s recent ad-campaign though [I must have a death wish. First Vogue US, now Tom!] It’s that familiar Mrs. Robinson get up. It’s quite funny and the bra tan line is kind of subversive. But it kind of stops there, on just about the right side of glossy kitsch. Valley of the Dolls sex bomb partnered with a younger, uptown dandy.The image comes off as both aloof and inviting. That’s the lure of Mr. Ford – making you want to be part of his club but knowing deep down that you’ll never be that perfect.

Tom Ford: HOWDYho

The ad campaign reminds me of the infamous monogramed crotch that Mr. Ford masterminded whilst at Gucci, albeit more subtle, more knowing. It seems that he is now quite comfortable with poking fun at himself. Sex sold. Is it time for IRONY to have a go?

Squirt here.

Regular readers will know that I’m not a fan of uploading ad campaigns or editorial. This isn’t what this blog is about. When I do so its because I genuinely like the piece or it relates to something else. Like this Chanel jacket you see here, from the Spring-Summer 2010 campaign. I like it A LOT.

I have a love/hate relationship with Chanel. Individually, I love the pieces. As a show I sometimes find it plodding and contrived, bordering on the twee despite the creative chutzpah. Recently, however, their ad campaigns have been amongst the strongest. I wonder if Karl Lagerfeld still shoots them? They tell a story that is unmistakably Chanel’s and in a time when most brands are distilling their core values Chanel is arguably up there, stronger than ever.

This jacket is worth doing time for. If I was a girl and if I could afford it I would definitely be popping down to Rue Cambon. Hell, if I could afford it I’d buy it anyway. Collector’s item. Museum piece. Hang it on the wall and drool. It sums up the house ethos perfectly – a nonchalant approach to luxury. Who was it that said [Yves Saint Laurent?]  “Wear your furs like a t-shirt, and your t-shirt like fur”? Or words to that effect. The message is still the same.

The collection was inspired by a romp through the farm yard, albeit a custom-built one in the middle of Paris. A couture barn dance. Not your typical farm hands, indeed. The pictures speak for themselves. An incredible amount of detail and texture done with a light hand. And the cut at the back… New Oxygen ©

This is going to be a long post I must warn you. I’ll be sharing some thoughts on the three protagonist houses showing  Haute Couture  in Paris: Givenchy, Giorgio Armani and Chanel. A 70’s redux runs through those shows like the finest silk thread and I can see the shadow of one man cast over all three collections – Halston_

Give Me More// Givenchy par Riccardo Tisci

Reading Suzy Menkes’ and Sarah Mower’s reviews of  Tisci’s efforts he pretty much had  the audience eating out of the palm of his hand and gasping for more. I’m a huge fan of Givenchy womenswear and actually think the menswear is on the up – looking forward to see what effect the new head of menswear will have. The show centred on a less aggressive take on the 70’s. Doe-eyed Natalia Vodianova closed the show in a gobsmacking evening dress that poured itself into a flurry of gossamer-fine ombre pleats around her feet. The show was precise, modern, accomplished, relevant and beautiful. I agree with the slight tut-tutting that it was perhaps a bit too abbreviated but better that way than to induce front row snoozing.

The Halston Effect can be seen in the sculptural ruffles, sequins, chiffon cloaks and linear draping.

2010 Space Odyssey// Chanel Par Karl Lagerfeld

The man is bonkers but a bonkers genius if there ever was one. There’s no stopping him. The Chanel shows can sometimes induce the need to retch into the nearest champagne bucket but there isn’t a fashion house that reduces women to spluttering, stuttering heights of deranged obsession as Chanel. The sugary fondant fancy palette was a tad queasy and there were some proportions and flourishes that were just plain wrong but amidst all that there were some  exits that made you realise how bloody important haute couture is. The sustaining of craft is reason enough for it to exist. Even if a single dress isn’t sold those petits mains need to be kept on a payroll. No other house pumps the lifeblood into couture like Chanel, love or loathe.

Despite the baroque-ice-queen-goes-to-Saturn-for-two-scoops-of -vanilla-and-one-of-pistachio theme there was a way of the 70’s about those draped satin columns, neat culotte pant suits and mirror ball sparkle. Sort of Marie Antoinette goes to Studio 54. Again, see Halston. In particular his pastel-hued dresses from 1972.

Full Circle//Giorgio Armani Privé

Lunar eclipse. Looking to the stars… literally. Cate Blanchet & co have a go-to for Oscar night. I’m not a huge fan of Armani but I respect his work. you know an Armani when you see one – so strong is his handprint. He styles every look himself and that makes his shows some of the most personal. I’ve actually warmed to the Privé collection and I’ll bet anything that next to Chanel no one else shifts more couture frocks. You look expensive in an Armani so it reasons that if you’re spending €50,000 on a dress you want to look so. Also he focussed on trousers, the hardest of garments to cut and perfect. Why don’t other houses push this?

La Luna. The Moon. Silver, space age organzas, a nocturnal palette, crescent motifs & circular cutting, the sporty, minimalist columns and, once again, sculpted ruffles. The influence of Halston is undoubtable.

Postscript. Looking forward to see where Marios Schwab takes the Halston brand next now it seems to be on fashion’s frontline again.

catwalk images

HALSTON, An American Original: Elaine Gross & Fred Rottman, Harper Collins Publishing 1999