It’s that time of year again darlings when I wax poetically and somewhat obsessively over the most recent CHANEL Haute Couture collection. And this season will be no different! In fact, it might just be even more effusive. Inspired by both flowers and the French savoir faire of the 18thcentury that so distinguished the nation as a bastion of luxury and refinement, Karl Lagerfeld has created a collection of utter splendour. Set against a backdrop of a vast Mediterranean villa with elegant and precise pathways “à la Française,” attendees were transported from the Grand Palais to a dream world filled with gowns so sumptuous that Marie Antoinette herself would have swooned (and then would have undoubtedly ordered the entire collection on the spot, state coffers be damned).
Featuring a color palette of pastel pink, prairie green, and sky blue alongside CHANEL classics like black, white, navy blue, and iridescent gold and silver, and adorned with the most incredible finishings, the collection is a visual feast for the eyes. The very flowers that inspired many pieces of the collection appear embroidered, hand painted and imagined in lace, feathers, resin, and even ceramic, both on the garments themselves and even as glittering hair jewels. And on the subject of adornments, the CHANEL Spring-Summer 2019 collection has distinguished itself with fantasy brought to life. There is a dress adorned with real flowers that have been preserved in resin and others with flowers crafted from delicate ceramic and hand painted. Feathers, beads, sequins, bows, leather, and lace play beautifully against fabrications of tweed, silk, organza, and chiffon.
While there is a feminine whimsy to the collection, there is also an abundance of refinement. Jackets are lengthened like tunics while others are belted high or feature a peplum. Others still are reminiscent of the spencer jacket that was so popular in the late 18thcentury. And speaking of the 18thcentury, the historical references in this collection have pulled at my heart and totally captured me. Look 60 (pictured in this post as well), a pink confection of a gown, brings to mind the opulent court dress of Marie Antoinette’s Versailles with its intricate lace and tiered paniers. However, lest the gowns veer into the realm of costume, Monsieur Lagerfeld has placed a structured leather jacket over a billowing chiffon dress. As for the bride, an Haute Couture tradition and always a standout of the collection, this summer season she comes dressed in just about the most elegant bathing suit and jewel encrusted veiled swimming cap.
It is the detailing and construction of these incredible garments that never fail to amaze me. Each detail, from the most deceptively simple pleat, to the most intricate embroidery, has been done by hand. Representing hundreds of hours of work, these pieces are not simply incredibly gorgeous garments but rather works of art. Haute Couture is part of the history of France, and it is incredible to see this tradition continue over the span of centuries. In an age of continued modernization, the traditional methods and highly skilled handiwork that is utilized to create an Haute Couture piece is becoming more and more rare, making these garments all the more special. Just wait until you see the detail photos of these amazing pieces on Wednesday, I guarantee you’ll be totally awed by seeing these spectacular creations up close!