Tuesday, September 4, 2007

009. The New Chanel: Like It or Leave It?

"Chanel repudiated all prior canons of style and beauty. Her fashions epitomized the New Woman, youthful, independent, lithe, and athletic."
(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.


WendyB said...

I like penguins, and I like sweaters, but I wouldn't want to wear a penguin sweater.

Anonymous said...

Miss Shada,

I am in truth more concerned about this direction that Chanel seems to be heading toward:


Blogger won't let me use image tags, BAH.

Also, I love that 2006 collection to bits. And that outfit you posted - I love how the leather gives the classic tweed an edginess and the chiffon rounds it all with some floaty lightness.


jealoushe said...

That - IMAGE - disturbs me to a degree I cannot express appropriately.

Haute couture is completely different from RTW. I can't imagine any potential client looking at The Simpsons in Chanel Haute Couture and going, "Oh me oh my! Well, that's the look I'm going for for the gala!"

I don't know, I'm just shuddering inwardly...this is frightening. What magazine did it appear in?

Anonymous said...

Harper's Bazaar, if you can believe it. The Chanel was one of several designers whose outfits the Simpsons were togged out in for that issue.

It was a clever bit of marketing for the Simpsons movie, but like you said, it did nothing for the clothes. I suppose some of the houses might've felt it would benefit their brand image to go along with something like that, especially to endear them to the younger crowd... hm.

Oh, one of the pictures had baby Maggie in a Birkin, which amused me muchly.

jealoushe said...

Ha. I knew I un-subscribed to Harper's Bazaar for a reason.