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style + fashion

the art of getting dressed.

Chanel - FW 2011

Caitlin Surakitbanharn

the Chanel atelier must be the most magical place on fashion earth.  the amount of incredible work that Karl Lagerfeld and team churns out each season is just almost unfathomable, and what strolled down a foggy, murky, eerie runway in Paris today was no exception.  the collection ( over 60 looks! good lord!) was deconstructed, it was dark, it was Chanel gone street, updated.  it took me almost all day to absorb and comprehend this collection but it finally makes sense to me.  the genius in this show lies in Lagerfeld's ability to touch on the pulse of what's making a woman want to get dressed.  there are two kinds of women buying Chanel....the kind who lives in the classic tweed skirt suits, and then there is a new breed of Chanel woman.  the women who mixes an insanely high end Chanel tweed capelet with a $22 tshirt from American Apparel and $150 leggings from T by Alex Wang and then rounds the look off with studded Louboutin oxfords and a classic 2.55 quilted Chanel bag.  it's this second woman that Lagerfeld has been catering to lately.  first in the most recent couture collection, where he showed denim leggings, and then here again...with distressed black denim, shredded chiffon, and Chanel tweeds thrown over an oversized military parka paired with slouchy combat boots and fingerless lace gloves.





this is how the modern woman is dressing now.  i often view my outfits as mixed media (today was a chambray oxford, sequin mini skirt, motorcycle boots, and camel leather jacket...like i said..mixed media), and i feel like Lagerfeld is right on with that line of thinking in this collection.  each outfits contains snippets of uptown, lots of downtown, and an undertone of masculine woven into feminine shapes.  in a word...he's made the Chanel woman into a chick with downtown cool street cred.  he's mixing textures and prints and styles and fabrics in a luxurious way that is appealing to this new Chanel woman. Chanel even most recently opened a jazzy new flagship store down here in SoHo..the home of this fashion forward, mixed media woman. the slouchy boots are so perfect, they make my heart race.  



also in classic Chanel fashion, the beauty of the collection is in the details.  the satin cuffs of the trousers, the insane handiwork done on the sleeves of a jacket, the beaded scallop trim of a dress with perfectly delicate lace gloves.....



and of course, my pièce de résistance...



perfectly tailored, insanely detailed, an unexpected cut... this dress was the orgasm of the collection for me.  the chiffon even becomes more shredded and haphazard as it trails down the dress...it just moves so beautifully and the dichotomy of the structured top as the skirt falls apart...it's everything. exaggerated cap sleeves and mock collars are tough to wear but this dress is rooted in fantasy, so it's worn with ease and grace.  

naturally, there are a few misses that hit the runway today....Lagerfeld is always apt to show a few weird one-piece bodysuits (we all remember the full yeti suit, right?) and today was no different..except the one-piece suits were in black puffy quited fabric and a few in structured lace....not my cup of tea and not necessarily wearable...but surely there will be one bold ski bunny that goes for it.  

those few moments aside, the collection showcased the genius and talent of Lagerfeld and the Chanel seamstresses.  as was evident in the most recent couture collection as well as this Fall 2011 showing, there is a lot to be said for well tailored denim leggings, smart layering, and strong details.  women aren't buying something because it's Chanel anymore..they're buying it because it's an extraordinary piece that they can get use out of...and that's what Lagerfeld gave us today.  amazing pieces that we can work into our wardrobes.