(From The City Review)
I know you've seen it. I've seen it. We've all seen it. And no, it's not something you'd ordinarily expect from Chanel.
Admittedly, fashion houses have always had a playful side: remember Chanel's take on the skull trend? Recently, the designer label has certainly demonstrated that it wants to maintain a standing alongside chic and upbeat younger labels. But penguin sweaters, Mr. Lagerfeld?
Chanel has always striven to remain ageless rather than appear antiquated, but more and more it appears to be catering to the younger generation specifically. Take a look at another of this fall's pieces:
And now contrast it to a piece from only the year before. (These pieces are meant to be representative of the two runway shows; I didn't pick a flamboyant piece from 2007 and a conservative one from 2006.)
As you can see, while they are both playful, the eclectic mix of color and pattern in the 2007 garments are much more youthful than that of the 2006 outfit. And I don't think you can chalk it up to trends, either. The 2007 is rebellious, even edgy. The 2006 is playful and dark, but in a distinguished way, somehow. And while I consider all three photos to embody what I consider the Chanel "essence" - that inarticulable something, the quirkiness of the French mingled with an elegant refinedness - there has clearly been an compulsory evolution in style, even over the course of a single year. Indeed, I did read recently that Chanel has been falling in profits and is trying to revive itself by catering to a younger pool of clientele. So maybe this explains things, at least partially.
This begs the question: As a member of the twentysomething group, do I like the "new" Chanel? Stylistically, most certainly. I'd wear this in an heartbeat. And I do think the transition is graceful, incorporating both the new and old, taking the best of both. But each to their own. I won't fault you if you long for Chanel's yesteryear. And the penguin sweater? Not for me, but there will be dozens of people willing to pay $1,000+ for a Chanel granny sweater, I can assure you.