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Posts Tagged ‘Karl Lagerfeld’

reposted from “Chanel: A Lion in Tweed”
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Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s headstone in Lausanne, Switzerland


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it is only fair to pay equal respect to the woman and legend behind the brand that has single-handedly made quilted bags and ballerina flats universal fashion must-haves. Gabrielle, or “Coco” as she preferred, was a complex and complicated woman. Or, atleast, that is how she is portrayed in the three (yes, three) books that came out just this season. Having only read one so far, I can promise that Coco’s romances are explored just as thoroughly as the rumors which surrounded her life between the covers of Justine Picardie’s Coco Chanel: The Legend and The Life. Between the captivating photos of her past and sketches by Karl Lagerfeld, Picardie’s writing makes for an illuminating tale of a woman torn between two lives: fashion designer and wartime woman.

My personal fascination has been focused on Coco’s years in Switzerland. I’ve spent the past two months living in this country known for the Alps and fondue, and can’t help but imagine what it must have been like 65 years ago when the designer frequented the shores of Lac Léman. As Picardie notes in her book, Chanel once said she felt “free as a bird” when visiting Switzerland; her unsmudged red lipstick and conservative clothing concealing a life of lovers, flings, family drama, and a token best friend with a drug problem.

Following her death at the Ritz in Paris on January 10, 1971, Coco was buried at the Cimetière du Bois-de-Vaux in Lausanne. The turnout for her burial appeared meager in photos, as a formal, more-sizable ceremony had been conducted in Paris two weeks prior. Her gravestone is recognizable by five lions that appear across the top of her headstone; Coco’s astrological sign was Leo, something that defined her to the end. Today, greenery in the formation of her name, “Coco”, is perfectly placed across the area where her body rests. Next week, it will be 41 years since she passed.

As written in Picardie’s pages, Chanel once said to Paul Morand,
“I would make a very bad dead person, because once I was put under, I would grow restless and would think only of returning to earth and starting all over again.” I’ll keep my eye on her plot.

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reposted from “Chanel: A Lion in Tweed”

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Voguepedia | Karl Lagerfeld
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Photograph by Annie Leibovitz. Published in Vogue, December 2003.

Lagerfeld has become far more than just a fashion phenomenon. With runway conquests at the houses of Chloé, Fendi, and Chanel, and as a remarkable barometer of the twenty-first-century zeitgeist, he is an industry unto himself. In a business that tosses the word “icon” about with reckless abandon, he is genuinely iconic, wielding his trademark fan and his repertoire of witticisms—sometimes provocative, often amusing, and always Karl. Old enough to be the grandfather of some of his Parisian competitors, he is a modern Oscar Wilde, a black-leather dandy with a rock-and-roll pout.

In the deep, all-knowing German voice that could belong to no other, Karl Lagerfeld declared in 1984, “I would like to be a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon.” In this—as in so many things—he was, if perhaps not self-effacing, extremely prescient. Today, the influence of his designs is rivaled only by the infamy of his ever-present dark sunglasses (“They’re my burka,” he has professed), his magnetic pull towards controversy, and his tendency to say things like, “Vanity is the healthiest thing in life.”

Fifty-seven years after Vogue first showed readers Coco Chanel’s innovative LBD in 1926, the company was placed in Lagerfeld’s studded, fingerless-gloved hands, and neither the LBD nor Chanel were ever the same. “My job,” Lagerfeld has said, “is to bring out in people what they wouldn’t dare do themselves.” In a way, this is what he did for the Chanel image, as well: Its elegance and dignity had lost their clout among the sixties generation of jeans-and-miniskirts-wearers, but Lagerfeld was able to transform the house into the ultimate purveyor of bad-girl chic (wealthy bad girl, that is). He was, it turned out, the perfect designer to bring the nodding camellias back to life. “Tradition is something you have to handle carefully, because it can kill you,” he told Vogue in 1984. “Respect was never creative.”

In his first years as creative director, Lagerfeld was accused by some critics of going too far—so far as to desecrate their hallowed memories of Chanel. He threw so much leather and chains into his early collections that his old friend Yves Saint Laurent balked: Chanel, he said, had become “frightening, sadomasochistic.” “Who can say what is good taste and what is bad taste?” the designer has countered. “Sometimes bad taste is more creative than good taste.”

Although he has a love of the eighteenth century—he views it as both the most polite and the most modern period, a time when “no one was young; no one was old. Everyone had white hair”—Lagerfeld is firmly planted in
the now. “Fuck the good old days,” he told Vogue in 2004. “Today has to be okay, too. If not you make something second-rate out of the present.”

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see the rest of the article: Voguepedia | Karl Lagerfeld

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MV Agusta Cilindri.

A classic Italian racer. While a 3-cylinder engine was not exactly a novelty (others had experimented with this configuration) it was undoubtedly the first to achieve such brilliant performance. A full 92 HP at 13,500 RPM, lightness and excellent handling made this 500 the most successful of the MV stable. Following its 1966 debut, it won 7 consecutive world championships from 1967 to 1973 with G. Agostini. That was no easy feat. Wouldn’t you love to ride this machine on a race track?


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Apparently Karl Lagerfeld also loves the classics, as he is seen with a version of this machine here. What a bike; what a guy!
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Chanel Fall/Winter 2012 Show Grand Palais, Paris. July 4.



It is amazing that so many different varieties of greys and plaids, appeared in Chanel’s Fall/Winter 2012 show. Large and small tweed patterns, and quite a bit of texture woven into the designs; even shiny metallics to provide contrast, and the pink a bit of warmth.

There is only so much one can take, of greys, and plaids, though, no matter the designer. These fabrics and textures tend to add bulk, especially the large plaid patterns with heavy fibers. Ordinary women who are not tall, svelt supermodels, might find themselves lost in a froth of grey fluff, puffed to the gills with belts and big buttons…And the kaftan length coats seemed a bit like long bathrobes, others had the feeling of quilted blankets.

But several of the shorter coats with petite patterns did seem more practical and conventional for everyday wear.

And I did especially like the fluidity of one lighter, metallic pink shawl wrap coat, and this would also make nice evening wear.

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As I mentioned previously, this particular show seemed to have a retrospective feel, reverting to some of the classic Chanel shapes — short, boxy jackets with militaristic lines and austere severity, despite the fluffy textures and color pink. Coco Chanel might have been flattered, but some of the styles of the 50’s don’t seem to be appropriate on the modern woman, in my opinion.

However, there were several cocktail dresses that appealed to me, having qualities completely at odds with Chanel’s classic look, with its severe lines. I found particularly humorous, one dress that looked like the slip of a 40’s fan dancer, with its fringe and lacey look, straight out of a bordello.
However the input of sateen and lame’ fabrics added smooth fluidity and femininity to the lineup, and several skirt designs featured long length with flared bottoms, creating a particularly non-traditional Chanel silhouette which I found very flattering and attractive. These cocktail dresses, still in muted classic coloration, were among my favorites. There were several pieces which pushed the boundaries of good taste, one in particular being a kaftan in cream with metallic sheen, and hot pink dipped edges which pushed my buttons… But the several I did like, have erased the memory of that particular shocker from my mind, lol.
That being said, I did like the use of a new type of fingerless elbow length glove, which covered the arms below princess sleeves. And I especially like the plunging tuxedo bow topping the form-fitting sateen cocktail dresses. In addition to the flared skirts, the elegance of these pieces was classic and timeless, and restored my faith in the appeal of Chanel. Bravo!
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Chanel Fall/Winter 2012 Show Grand Palais, Paris. July 4.

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what a fascinating persona!

Fashion & Style Guru

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Chanel Fall/Winter 2012 Show Grand Palais, Paris. July 4.

These were some of my favorite tactile details from the recent product line for Chanel. The color theme seemed to be grey and pink, which seemed a little unusual for a fall season, but there was a retro sensibility, and classic and timeless functionality, which is Chanel’s appeal. Drawing on some historic looks from Coco’s line, the short cocktail jackets maintained their boxiness and precision shapes, and the winter coats featured shorter length A-lines with some textile bulkiness. I’m afraid some of these might be too bulky for moderate to heavy-set women. However silky bows, lacey fringe and even feathers, softened the jackets lines. And there was a surprising amount of sheen, from sateen and reflective lame’ metallics to offer contrast to the rougher textures.

There seemed to me to be a slight feeling of austerity and restraint in the designs rather than a sense of lavishness, which again reinforced my sense of what was esentially Coco. Yet there was a cleanness in the simplicity, and elegance to the silhouettes. I am not a fan of short-length princess sleeves. However the new approach to fingerless elbow-length gloves covered the lower arm with style. And the spare, angular necklines of the tuxedo dresses and star-like oriental collars, brought emphasis to the pure beauty in some of the models’ faces– which is sometimes forgotten that the model is a human being, and not a clothes horse! Several of the designs featured layered, ruffled laciness, reminiscent of boudoir shifts or undergarments, which feminized the female form, revealing what Chanel sometimes seems to hide with more chaste structure.

I was sensing elements of Russian or Ukrainian orientality, yet with much more extreme restraint than that which was featured last year at Bombay, India.

Chanel Fall/Winter 2012 Show Grand Palais, Paris. July 4.

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