Chanel Pre-Fall 2012 Collection

by Alexander Patino

How to begin to discuss one of Karl Lagerfeld‘s collections for Chanel? With almost 80 looks that walked down the runway in Paris’ Grand Palais space for Chanel‘s pre-fall foray, Uncle Karl doesn’t make it easy. Much like Jason Wu’s collection the day before, the Kaiser was inspired by the maharajas, but where Wu only glazed over the sensuous trope, Lagerfeld imbued it with muscle – well, Parisian muscle, which in layman’s terms means, well – French chic grandeur.

Rajasthan, the land of kings and colors, was the designated aesthetic post, the models coming down the runway in imperial garbs, their tresses in knotted tangles of braids, crystal embellishments on everything from the straps of the must-have purses, to the fingerless gloves, to the cuffs and plankets on the house’s signature tweed jackets. One of the most oriental touches had to be those hip-hugging yoke skirts that recalled those swaying Lurex beauties Nicolas Ghesquiere played with for Balenciaga way back in fall 2009. They felt especially Jodhpur by way of Paris when paired against those red and blue color-blocked knits. But nothing here was quite as lush as those opening tweeds swathed in strings of pearls that came strewn on any place they could go, covering waists, collars, even the trims of pockets.

The principality touches were especially experimental with the white trompe l’oeil leggings, or were they boots? Hard to tell where one ended and the other began. But for all its regal essence, it was that one pink perforated eyelet long sleeve dress on Daphne Groeneveld, which had nothing to do with India, that was Chanel’s wonder among wonders.

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