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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Thursday, 8 December 2011

From Chanel with Love: Paris-Bombay

On the 6th of December during the annual Chanel Métiers d’Art collection, French powerhouse Chanel presented a pre-fall 2012 collection entitled Paris-Bombay . The collection, which combines the extravagance of historic India with detailed craftsmanship of tweeds and pearls typical of the fashion house and its associated ateliers; is a must see!

A traditional Tweed Chanel dress combined with pants for a more conservative effect
Held at the Grand Palais in Paris, which was sumptuously decorated as a Maharajah's feast, guests were seated at decadent banquet tables, among which was the runway. Lagerfeld did not fail to impress with this extravagant setting of chandeliers, gold plated cutlery and floral arrangements. But what surprised the privileged few was the clothes. About the idea of doing such a show, Karl Lagerfeld said "We've had Paris-London, we've had Paris-Shanghai, so it felt like time to go off circuit, to somewhere less expected" . Indeed, no one expected to see , let alone buy a Chanel Lehenga anytime soon.

Looking at the clothes, one can see that Lagerfeld not only inspired himself of India as a country but more of it's famous inhabitants namely the decadence in which Maharajahs and Maharani's lived adorning themselves in jewelry pieces and rich fabrics.
Light gray embroidered lace dress with head shawl
What impressed me the most was the attention to detail in the show, clothes and accessories. Karl Lagerfeld is notorious for being a perfectionist on all different levels, but never before have I seen a fashion show where every little detail was in accordance with the other and it all fell into place with a strict respect to the 'Paris-Bombay' theme. The first example of the attention to details was the models, their make up was done with a lot of attention around the eye area creating a black smokey eye effect very reminiscent of the Kohl Indian women use around their eyes. The hair was braided into dreadlocks just like how Yogis wear their hair, but also reminding us of the multicultural side of India with Goa being a central hub for the hippies of today.

Model getting her hair fixed
Now about the clothes, we can see the classical tailored excellence Chanel is known for the ever present and Coco's favorite; Tweed and the strands of pearls with the Chanel Logo. But they were often mixed with other clothing items or accessories in a way that it would create a modern take on Indian Fashion and traditional garments. Sheer satin dresses were worn over gold tights or pants, dresses were drapped as Saris and
the famous Nehru collar adorned a coat.

The clothes were not always giving a modern take on classic Indian fashion, as there were also classic Western/Parisian pieces namely dresses, brocade pants, jackets and coats. But they all had an ethnic appeal to them that reminded of the Bombay inspiration. The color palette for the show was mainly surrounding white, cream, grey, rust and black with the odd bright pink and blue appearing once in a while. The materials used consisted of - but not only Tweed, Satin, lace wool, velvet and were often richly embroidered.
The drapping and belting of the dress created an ethnic  look
Satin dress with heavy metallic detailing 
In terms of accessories and jewelry, the detailing is exquisite and thoroughly worked. The atelier of embroidery Lesage and button-maker Desrues are greatly responsible for most of the detailing for the 'Paris-Bombay' Métiers d’Art collection. The embroidery and jewelry have been made with such minutiae that the smallest details end up attracting lots of attention. The classic quilted Chanel bag suspended by a Lesage- embroidered guitar strap is sure to be a hit among the Fashion fanatics around the world. Just as the heavily embroidered handbags.

Guitar straps to hold the bag
heavily embroidered bag

The bags and shoes have mostly a very western appeal to them, but the headpieces, heavy neacklaces, hand jewelry and strands of jewelry adorning the hips of the models are very similar to classical Indian jewelry. The marriage of the Chanel pearls with jeweled flowers to create this modern effect on the Indian classics is fascinating.

Karl Lagerfeld has once again surprised the crowds by mixing traditional Chanel with traditional India to create  his own take on things and adding a modern touch to make sure it is not a 'costume show'. What is surprising though is how he managed to pull it off without having ever been to India instead states that he has a poetic vision of how things are there. I am glad he took us on such a voyage, assisting, on how he used past Indian fashion to maybe create its future...

Click on the Video above for an Insight about how the embroideries at Maison Lesage were made.

Video above is the Trailer to the Paris-Bombay show. Enjoy!


  1. amazing pics and I love chanel show!!!
    cool blog!! I really like this post!
    Passes to see me on my blog and if you like we can follow each other?
    have a wonderful day… keep in touch

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