Imagine the excitement of spring. Blood pumping , hormones on the wing and love is wafting through the air. In the near and far off distance is a barn of absolutely perfect, romantic proportions with a hay loft just begging to be explored. What fantasy comes to mind? Pleasure? Adventure,perhaps? Naughtiness of the most forbidden and delicious sort? Well you must have stumbled into Marie Antoinette's Petite Hameau: the last word in barnyard perfection, and your guide and host is Karl Lagerfeld along with a flock of beauties to amuse and beguile you.
Chanel's Spring collection was everything that Paris need offer in one beautiful be-ribboned box. That's not to say that some other collections were not worth seeing or having, only that this one seem to hit all the notes and sublime chords from high to low , major to minor resolving to major.
The fact that the presentation was a grand tableau vivant, a picture come to life, with the most interesting characters is not doing it justice. The fabrics, the combinations of pieces, the brilliance of technique, all worked so effortlessly to tell a story from start to finish. Romance, suspense, poetry and comic relief were all included. A good writer is expected to show, not tell his story in order for the reader to actually taste and smell, not to mention hear and feel its message. Karl did that with this collection. Every sense was sated.
The commonplace trends of the season were either addressed in a clever way which never pandered to the audience. The idea of bareness, lingerie and thinly disguised nakedness was treated with taste and sophistication. Instead of the obvious, he used lace under jackets which created a suggestion of bareness. Lace over a ground of georgette achieved the same ends but without exposing the woman. The idea of nudity is so much more alluring than baring all.Tulle layered over layers of sheerest chiffon created mystery. The techniques employed by his couture collection applied to the pret a porter but in an artless, unprecious way striking the perfect note.
There were so many suits in tweeds woven to look like the most humble fabrics. Also little lace and embroidered organdy dresses were beautiful in their straight forwardness. Colors were dove gray, ivory, palest blue with ribbon colors of red,blue and pink and hints of beaten gold. Marie Antoinette wanted a world separate from the court of Versailles and so created the village on the grounds of the palace only open to her friends. Her aim was to have a private world where all would play farmers and milk maids and forget the formality of court and her position. It was a fantasy that was impossible to maintain but an understandable idea under the circumstances.
We live in a strangely relative world where so much is wrong that we can't help but wish for escape. These clothes , even in their obvious richness have a quality that personifies this desire.
To break down specific looks only lessens their appeal and wit, so I'll show instead of tell what was so moving about this romp.
I'll take a sheaf of wheat to concrete under foot any day of the week.
On the Street…Viale Umbria, Milan
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