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Thursday 28 August 2014

Changing Chanel: Marie Antoinette bling and 80s boy band references

Lisa Armstrong

Published 09/07/2014 | 02:30

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Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld at the end of his Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel. Reuters
Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld at the end of his Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 fashion show for French fashion house Chanel. Reuters
Kristen Stewart attends the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at Grand Palais.  Getty Images
Kristen Stewart attends the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at Grand Palais. Getty Images

Remember a time when it wasn't all about Peak Beard but about Peak Hair?

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We didn't call it Peak Hair of course, because it was the 1980s. It was, however, very peaky, whipped up into Himalayan crests courtesy of a newfangled formulation called mousse, and held in place, for ever, with gel. Perched atop the peakiest part of these peaks were teeny little Baker Boy caps, often worn back to front. At least they were if you were in a 1980s boy band.

The wardrobe staples of Depeche Mode or Wham! don't sound a promising starting point for a Chanel couture collection, but somehow it worked at Paris Fashion Week.

Those spiky follicles added a jauntiness to the architectural icy whites on the catwalk and the ubiquitous '80s messenger bag was always an intrinsically sound piece of design.

Here it was re-imagined as something that might appeal to Marie Antoinette, doused with silver embroidery and jewels.

Those were the most overt '80s references, apart from the cycling shorts (in tweed of course). After that, it was back to Marie Antoinette, who, you will recall, had her own thing going on with big, peaky hair even though there wasn't any hair spray in 1780, let alone mousse.

Stiff, full skirts, some knee-length, others ballerina, were matched with flat flip-flops with black silk ribbons that tied around the ankles.

Karl Lagerfeld stayed true to Chanel's origins with boucles, wools and tartans.

It was an interesting lesson in control: dazzling beads and embroideries were set against clean lines. Colours were mainly black, white and grey, with a sprinkling of red. The result?

One of the chicest, most pared-back Chanel collections in a while, although by no means minimalist, and with plenty of daywear. That's unusual. Most of the remaining couturiers in Paris seem to have given up on dressing women during daylight hours.

Chanel's persistence with a hefty daywear segment suggests this is one house where clients really do come to buy a comprehensive wardrobe. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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