A great deal has already been blogged about the A/W 08 Chanel couture just shown. Me, I've always had a soft spot for this particular time of year, especially after devouring the amazing Chanel Storyville documentary shown on BBC4 on the talented artisans who actually put the damn clothes together. If I know nothing else, I know this: I'd rather hang out with the housewives/craftswomen extraordinaire in the embroidery room than 20 Amanda Harlechs. We would wear pristine white work dresses, laugh like sailors and collect our Chanel bag on retirement - it is a dream of mine.
You can start watching the whole 6 episode extravaganza here. I'm sure a lot of you have seen it already but if you haven't, I advise you put some time aside and wallow in the sheer lovely crazed Frenchness of it all.
Anyway, back to this year's couture. It seems all the brou-ha-ha centres around the tower o' power or Le Chanel Robe Gargatua:
Hey, it ain't just me thinking along these lines. Even Women's Wear Daily online was muttering darkly about 'Madame Mao' (strangely I can't find that phrase in their new review dated today...mainstream fashion writers have to watch their commercial ps and qs much more then we dirty online independents) and the wonderfully astute Le Style Sauvage reads the big jacket as Chanel's assertion of economic untouchability even as the nature of world economics changes:
"The size of the jacket sent a different message: Chanel is poised to take over the world. Not the world as we know it--that world is shrinking like wool in a dryer--but the new world."
-- Suzanna Mars, Le Style Sauvage (read her, she's ace)
Although a symbol that visually riffs on a Chinese Communist leader's iconography might seem contrary to Mars's reading of the jacket as a paean to luxury's marketplace longevity, it is not as contradictory as it might first appear. Women in rapidly developing countries, especially those with a communist history (Russia, China etc), these children of Mao - these are the socialites and couture customers of tomorrow. And they better have the legs for minis and ballet flats.
Lots of lovely stuff to be seen however. I enjoy Karl's ability to twist Chanel iconography into a seeming endless array of sartorial options. Particularly love the camellia skirt on model #2 and the unexpectedly toughness of model #3. I have an ace Miss Sixty jumper with that kind of tooled puffa sleeve...I shall have to dig it out. I also enjoy every commentator's complaint that the models had trouble posing without their high heels. I quite enjoy a bit of ingénue gawkiness myself - makes the whole thing less rarefied.However, I'm genuinely quaking at the thought that demi-opaque tights are going to be big news again. Stupid trend rumours delivering on their promises...bah.
I'm surprised though that no blogger has commented on the state of the models faces. I was browsing merrily through style.com's detail shot archive and I was shocked to see how exhausted and cracked-out some of our top models look in close-up. I sincerely hope it was the lighting but some of it has to be a sheer lack of a good eight hours shuteye:
Seriously -- click and enlarge and check the bags. I honestly think Vlada Roslyakova (centre) is trolling the front row for brains. Even lovely Iekeliene Stange looks ready to either nut someone or fall forward snoring and drooling on her bouclé. I know models are worked like whippets in couture week but jeepers Karl - let 'em sleep.