With his helming of the House of CHANEL, Karl Lagerfeld has distinguished himself as a master of mixing the heritage of the house with his vision for the future. Aptly paying homage to Gabrielle Chanel’s exacting vision while expertly crafting a unique and fresh look with each new collection he creates, Monsieur Lagerfeld is truly a titan of the fashion world.
It couldn’t be more fitting that he looked to the ancient world as inspiration for the CHANEL 2017/18 Cruise Collection. Titled “La Modernité De L’Antiquité (The Modernity of Antiquity), Lagerfeld beautifully marries the strength and beauty of ancient Greece with the luxury and mythology of the house of CHANEL. Greek antiquity, a cradle of learning, beauty, and culture, deeply inspired Monsieur Lagerfeld. Speaking of this storied historical time period and how it still impacts and inspires our modern world, Lagerfeld noted “the criteria of beauty in ancient, then classical, Greece still hold true. There have never been more beautiful representations of women.” His words could not be more true – the pieces that he created for the 2017/18 CHANEL Cruise Collection are a celebration of beauty and the power and allure of women.
The collection is a celebration of both femininity and strength, seemingly evoking the power and beauty of the famously mighty and revered Spartan women of ancient Greece (as the saying goes, only Spartan women were strong enough to give birth to Spartan warriors). Elegant draping brings to mind the iconic columns of the era while the sirens of the sea are brought to life in jersey or mousseline dresses paired with long tunics printed with golden leaves. As if brining the work of Praxiteles to life, Lagerfeld has created garments in a color palette reminiscent of marble, the favored medium of this famed sculptor. Black, white, beige, terracotta, and gold are perfectly aligned with Mademoiselle Chanel’s favored color scheme, tying together beautifully with vivid blues and the softest of pastels. The simple linen dress is elevated to Olympian heights with the embellishment of multi-color stones while trousers and jumpsuits feature fluid sun-pleats.
Drawing further inspiration from the art of the period, the iconic CHANEL suit features seductively curvaceous amphora-like hips. The collection showcases fabrications of tweed, jersey, silk, linen, crepe, and lace that are adorned with raw fringe, sequins, and sumptuous embroidery. With motifs of owls (the mythological symbol of wisdom), laurel crowns, oak leaves with hidden camellias, and laurel branches fashioned into the legendary double C’s of the house, it is as if the art of the ancient world was brought to life on the runway of the Grand Palais. Even the wheat stalks that Gabrielle Chanel favored as a totem are worked beautifully into the collection in the form of embellished coins that adorn chic little evening bags.
While the collection is yet another triumph of Monsieur Lagerfeld’s sartorial imagination, it is also as wearable as it is beautiful. One could easily picture the models gliding off the runway and onto the fashionable beaches of the Mediterranean and Riviera. Make sure to check back on Friday for a breakdown of the Greek goddess-inspired beauty look!