Monday, February 9, 2015

A Greenhouse of Spring Magic (Courtesy of Chanel S/S 2015)

Apologies for the delay in posting. I am under the weather today, (there may be a delay in tomorrow's too just as an FYI) but thought I'd finish off a draft post to make it a little easier on myself, and show you what Chanel put together for their Spring Haute Couture show in January.

This is such a lovely way to reveal color. Bold in more ways than one...
"Florals for spring. Groundbreaking.” Those four words, famously uttered by The Devil Wears Prada villainess Miranda Priestly, have become something of a mantra in the fashion sphere. Leave it to Karl Lagerfeld, though, who showed Chanel’s spring 2015 couture collection on Tuesday in Paris, to turn spring florals into something not only groundbreaking, but downright futuristic. (Architectural Digest)
First the guests were treated to foggy greenhouse with intriguing paper-cut shapes of over-sized plants, then after being seated inside a gardner came out and "watered" it, starting the animations...

...which culminated with the models walking out as if they were living blooms.
I have to say I was so taken with the visuals that, for me, it was almost a disappointment when the models first walked out!

Strangely, it's been difficult to find much on the creation of such a stunning and much-talked-about centerpiece, the 'mechanical blooming hothouse' but this is from Vogue:
One definition of superb haute couture is that it’s the art of making impossibly difficult things seem as if they just—poof!—happened that way naturally. That’s precisely how Karl Lagerfelds spring haute couture was, a pleasingly unforced blooming of Chanel flower ideas set in an artificial hothouse. The Chanel conservatory was planted with mechanical plants which (gasp!) opened up and produced origami flowers before our very eyes, a naively childlike moment of transient entertainment, which, of course took an army of experts to engineer. “I thought of it six months ago, in a flash,” said Lagerfeld, cross-examined after the show. “There are 300 machines here under our feet, one to make each flower work.” It is exactly the same with the ridiculously intense inventive work that goes into every inch of Chanel couture embroidery on the runway, as he pointed out. Karl comes up with the vision—in this case, a fusion of Henri Matisse’s cutouts of leaves and 3-D paper Chinese lanterns—and then the ateliers apply themselves to figuring out how the minutiae of such structures can be faithfully conjured up in fabric.
I thought the gauzy floral skirts were very reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's The Brother's Grimm movie design/direction for some of the fairy tale portions of the movie (can't find any images to clips at the moment to show you what I mean unfortunately). Perhaps that's why I held on to it to show you.

In the meantime it looks like three-dimensional florals displayed on white is something we're going to be seeing a lot. Here's something that looks like it's from the same show but isn't: it's the "wedding dress" worn by Mila Kunis' character in the (reportedly insane) sci-fi-with-shades-of-Snow-White movie, Jupiter Ascending. (Note the red and white.. works for the concept of the character too.)This design, however is by Michael Cinco.
NOT Chanel - this design is by Michael Cinco for the movie Jupiter Ascending
Fashion has forever been connected with magic, fantasy and fairy tales but more and more we see the presentation of these shows be quite theatrical, trying to draw the audience into a story they might want to take home a piece of, for a price. (There's always a price...)

I applaud it, myself. It shows me people need stories - even their clothes, no matter how beautiful, are more relatable and desirable when a story is attached. There's something particularly special about haute couture because the pieces are one-of-a-kind, made to fit only one person (sometimes even sewn on to that person!) but a lot of time an attention goes into the making of each piece, like weaving magic spell. (Which always makes me think of The Three Spinners fairy tale and how great magic cost them.)

I don't normally spend a lot of time thinking about fashion (seriously: fashion beanies? Midriffs are bac?!) but I am completely fascinated by process and theater and all those forms of storytelling so for those who like seeing behind-the-scenes like I do, here's a peek at magic in the making:

There's probably a lot more someone who's much better with fashion could write for you on fashion and fairy tales but for today I'll just leave you with the lovely to have your own thoughts.

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