Chanel, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.
The sheer size of the Chanel couture collections, combined with the technical abilities of the crafts people who work on the collections, always creates a need to view the collection from afar and up close. In this way you can appreciate the silhouettes and proportions of the garments, and then look closer to see the insane level of detail in the fabrics and materials.
Aside from the continued exploration of the boxy Chanel jacket, this season brought added experiments with slightly more historical silhouettes with the appearance of bell shaped skirts that ended around knee level. It is also interesting to see that in this couture season where the Dior show also included 18th century silhouettes», there were a number of dresses in the Chanel show that explored a wider hip shape that curved out softly from below waist level. In the Chanel show this was a slightly more cocooned shape that widened out by the top of the thigh level and then fell straight, or softly tapered back in towards the ankles.
The bell shaped skirt silhouettes and boxy coats were often combined in outfits with shorts, which were worn slim around the leg and fell a couple of inches above the knee. These shorts, usually shown in self fabrics to match the rest of the look, added slightly more length to the line of the garments and, despite the fact that it was a couture show, made the models look slightly more industrious.
The more historical silhouettes, which were shown mainly at the end of the collection in white, were often combined with densely packed beading and embroidery in gold tones which further emphasised the regal feeling of these pieces. As usual, these embellishments on closer inspection were not mere reproductions of historical techniques and instead seemed to reference the textures and colours of printed circuit boards and electrical components.
Perhaps one of the most interesting materials used in the collection was actually the tiny concrete tiles that appeared to be created across a grid of threads, which meant that the tiles could be used as a fabric, or cut into strips and squares to create trims and button covers. In Tim Blanks’ review of the show» he mentions how Karl Lagerfeld used these concrete tiles as a reference to Corbusier and even demonstrated the lightness of the material to journalists at the show using a string of concrete beads.
Images from Vogue.co.uk» Click through to see the full collection.