Into The Atelier
Chanel has gained a bit of a reputation for having some of the most lavish and impressive show sets on the fashion week schedule, but for the couture AW16 collection, Karl Lagerfeld took Chanel back to where each collection begins – the atelier. Paying tribute to the two tailleur ateliers and two flou ateliers (that’s tailoring and dressmaking), the models walked amongst tables with sewing machines, mirrors, pins, fabric samples, toiles and mannequins, just like if they were doing fittings in the real atelier on rue de Cambon. The premieres of the atelier were working alongside their seconds and the 78 seamstresses, making for over 120 Chanel atelier staff present. Karl Lagerfeld decided “I thought that was a modern idea to make them participate. They should be shown too.” Too right.
For the evening silhouettes, Chanel looked to English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley whose black ink illustrations made him a leading figure in the Aesthetic movement. Shoulders and hems of the evening dresses were adorned with a dramatic crest of feathers balancing out the high waists, with the softness of the feathers contrasting against the radzimir, ziberline, taffeta and organza fabrics. Even the bride’s jacket and train were adorned with feathers; she was reimagined in a bustier and trousers of lace, tulle and satin and encrusted with delicate stands of pink and white wool.
Autumnal Shades and Shapes
For AW16, Chanel chose an array of autumnal hues. Mainly crafted in browns, marron glacé, burnt orange, beige and greys, the dark shades were offset with pinks, blacks and whites through block colours, and in some places were woven as duos. Sleek silhouettes were structured and graphic, with angular cut shoulders drawing attention to the stitches specially woven to create a stand-up effect. Coat and jacket dresses made from Chanel’s signature tweed had trompe l’oeil elements and ¾ length sleeves perfectly balanced out the 7/8th turn-up hems on trousers. All the Chanel couture traditional elements were there, just wonderfully modernised for AW16.