Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PARiS-SHANGHAi: A CHANEL FANTASY




A favorite look from Chanel Pre-Fall 2010


Karl has done it again.
Pre-fall collections tend to be a pared-down affair, offering around 30 looks privately viewed in an intimate setting. There is no official fashion week, and designers often invite a few buyers and editors to their studios to see in-house models, fabric swatches, and vision boards.
But on December 3rd, the Kaiser showed his Pre-fall 2010 collection of 64 looks in front of an audience of a thousand on a pontoon boat marooned in the Huangpu River in Shanghai, China. He used the city’s “spectacular twenty-first-century skyline and teeming waterfront—complete with kaleidoscopic neon, Jetsons-meets-Blade Runner towers, improbable glittering disco-ball telecommunications installations, and fast-moving pleasure boats, barges, and tugs” (Sarah Mower for Style.com) as a living set for his elaborate show. Timed with the eminent economic need for the house to further penetrate the steady Asian market, and the consequential opening of the Bund store opening opposite the show’s venue, the collection capitalized on Coco Chanel’s love of chinoiserie. Her unfulfilled desire to travel the Orient lent the collection its fanciful name, Paris-Shanghai: A Fantasy. 
And he didn’t stop there. As with PF09 (we are still recovering from the breathtaking experience of Paris-Moscow!) and PF08, Karl constructed a multi-media sartorial dreamworld around Paris-Shanghai: a short film, a multi-episode documentary on the creation of the collection and the show, backstage videos of the staging, a virtual tour of the new Shanghai outpost, and more. Particularly intriguing is Karl’s film named for the collection, during which one discovers Amanda Harlech in the role of the Duchess of Windsor and Heidi Mount as Marlene Dietrech. 
So sit down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the fantasy journey across the decades and into the Orient.

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