Runway Review: Chanel Fall 2012

by - 10:30 AM

pail·lette  (pä-yt, p-, p-lt)

1. A small piece of metal or foil used in painting with enamel.
2. A spangle used to ornament a dress or costume.
[French, from Old French, diminutive of paille, straw; see paillasse.]
I learned the french term for sequin, paillette, in the spring of 2010 when everyone in Paris, including my teenage host-sister, was in awe over the sequin-strapped Vanessa Bruno totes.

Add Karl Lagerfeld to the list of designers who incorporated the glimmering embellishments to their fall collection of otherwise dark and tailored collections.

This fall collection was more than a mild shift away from his monochromatic palette; the strict black and whites of previous collections remain, but fall welcomed in shades of navy and purple along with a shocking fuchsia. Perhaps old dogs really can learn new tricks.
The show began, as usual, with various tweed suit ensembles, paying homage, however mundane as they appeared, to the original suit which serves as the foundation of the entire empire of the House of Chanel. I was underwhelmed by the beginning of the show: uninspired bland boxy tweed suits of muted colors. In due time, the ensembles slowly morphed into beautiful suits with nipped waists and bracelet length sleeves, dotted with ombre sequins and beaded patterns. Fear not, fashionistas, sparkles will remain once the leaves have turned!

Flashy accessories are cast aside in favor of beads, sequins and bejeweled embellishments (note the large buttons and dramatic collars.) Any flash or extravagance of his choices are balanced out by both his choice of silhouettes and color scheme. Knee-length skirts gain coverage from sheer knee-high boots, while coats and dresses skim the floor.

Per usual, the styling is impeccable. Chanel accessories have been a mainstay in the fashion world since Coco made costume jewelry and respected field. Once again we see sheer textures in his lace eye-coverings and sheering knee-high boots. The house of Chanel has set a standard for designers in terms of styling an accessories: the two-tone tights of F/W '08/'09 launched a  trend that trickled all the way down to retailers including Urban Outfitters.

Rather angular side swept bangs peek out from hats and caps, reflecting the classic lines that dominate the collection.
As predicted, floor length silhouettes of  the "maxi-dress" trend will remain, echoing a sentiment of function over fashion once temperatures drop, however Lagerfeld's use of volume and peoplum-style skirts lend intrigue to an otherwise boring style.

At left, my favorite look  from the collection: a mix of sheer and opaque textures maintain a classic and tasteful air, thanks to the high neck of the bodice, and padded hips. In fact, the extreme volume of the two bands in striped material remind me of wings, chic nonethless.


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