AN APPRECIATION: BEAUTY BEYOND BEAUTY AT THE CHANEL SPRING/SUMMER 2013 HAUTE COUTURE SHOW

by Phillip D. Johnson/Editorial Director

Lookbook Images courtesy of www.fashiongonerogue.com)

Runway Images: www.chanel.com 

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)

I love KARL LAGERFELD’s work for CHANEL (even when I don’t immediately get where he’s going with the collection), especially his Haute Couture showings. He’s just one of the leading creative minds—in any industry—of our generation and has been so for the past 50 years. Having said that, I LOVED LOVED his SPRING/SUMMER 2013 HAUTE COUTURE show, recently held in Paris. Mr. Lagerfeld was inspired by—but not restricted to—the pre-World War One Poiret, La Gazette du Bon Ton and Les Choses de Poiret vues par Lepape — seminal publications of the time — that were odes to the romantic fluffiness of 1930s evenings and up to the 50s and today.

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

A model presents a creation by German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel's Spring Summer 2013 Haute Couture fashion collection, presented in Paris, Tuesday, Jan.22, 2013. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

 Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture fashion collection (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

“The idea,” said Mr. Lagerfeld, “is to make the shoulders beautiful.” And they were. It was all beyond amazing, awe-inspiring, and most importantly, very, very beautiful. It was a collection, that, to quote COLIN MCDOWELL, a Contributing Editor at The Business of Fashion, “was magisterial in its total confidence and yet gentle and more feminine than he sometimes is. As always, he referenced the original Chanel, especially the little suit, but entirely rethought it for the young, modern women… what I loved was the breadth of his interpretation of the Chanel aesthetic and his unrivalled knowledge of the history of couture.”

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

As Mr. McDowell reported, some of the dresses — all made by hand — took over 2000 hours of work. These are not just “clothing”. They are living, breathing works of art. Mr. McDowell also said (and I am in complete agreement) that “It was a consummate display of creation that put Chanel at the top of the tree this season.”

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection Lookbook photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

CATHY HORYN, Fashion Critic of The New York Times and another of my fashion industry heroes, in her review of the collection further expanded on why this collection resonated so deeply with the critics, the house’s customers and fashion fans all over: “Chanel’s misty forest, which also featured dresses with blood-red flowers against a black embroidered ground, provided a warm note of melancholia. It’s an underrated mood in fashion, creating a richness only for those inclined to embrace it.”

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)

Chanel Spring/Summer 2013 Haute Couture Collection (www.chanel.com)