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French Indian Flair, Done The Chanel Way


Pre-Fall Collection 2012

From the chic streets of Paris to exotic India, Karl Lagerfeld takes us on an intercontinental voyage for Pre-Fall 2012. His Paris-Bombay inspired collection is a collision of French tailoring and Indian intricacies. The result? Pure, over-the-top opulence.

The quintessential Chanel emblems are all there, albeit not as conspicuous as we're used to seeing. The impeccably fit pants, traces of tweed, boxy shapes, braided trims, the black and ivory palette, rows of pearls and the classic skirt and coat combination. Lagerfeld has an ingenious way to breathing new life into the established Chanel prototype.

Fur-edged coats in rich brocade are sumptuously paired with velvet and lamé. Indian-styled churidar (narrow) pants are a prominent feature in this collection. Flat footwear and bejeweled chappals (sandals) kept within character of the Eastern theme.

The colour scheme varied slightly from it's neutral foundation, pigmented by shades of ruby red, deep burgundy, magenta and neon pink. Lagerfeld didn't stray too far from the fundamentals of Indian fashion; which are intricate embellishings and traditional silhouettes. He's used the layering of dresses over narrow pants to his full advantage. It's a concept he's used, (perhaps overused) throughout this collection.

  Lagerfeld puts a modern spin on imperial Indian designs with Eurocentric flair. He chose metallics tones such as bronze, pewter, platinum, silver and gold to convey the luxury element of the range. The models wore their hair in pinned-up dreadlocks, adorned with bejeweled tikka headpieces.

This range of evening wear shows Lagerfeld's ability to reinterpret the worn-out idea of a 'glamorous gown'. Instead of the expected strapless, mermaid or ballgown styles, he gives us modest designs elevated by rich embroidery & crystal beading, all laid upon exquisite fabrics. 

Polished ivory silk proved its adaptability, being draped into tulip skirts, & then molded to form sleek Nehru coats. I found this section to be the calm after the lavish storm of looks shown before. The second last dress & the blue one above are my favourites from the range.

With a collection that exudes this much grandeur, it's saving grace lies in the individual pieces. Most of them can be worn as separates. Otherwise, I could only imagine these elaborate ensembles being suited for a high tea at the Taj Mahal, in 1658. But take away the excessive styling, Medusa-like hairstyles and ornate jewellery, and you would have some red-carpet worthy looks. I get that these outfits are not to everyone's taste, but hats off to Mr Lagerfeld for transporting us to a world where Indian custom meets French couture, the Chanel way.  

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