Paris Couture Fall ’09. Chanel Goes Flap Happy.

July 8, 2009 • Fashion Shows

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Chanel chief Karl Lagerfield set the stage with a dramatic effect for his Paris couture show yesterday. Literally. The runway emerged from between four towering Chanel No.5 perfume bottles with the kickoff time at 10 p.m. Though despite the amped up drama surrounding the show, the collection itself was described by WWD as "low key". The designer seemed to take cues from the label's exclusive, country club clientele with a slew of tailored suits, cropped pants, dapper coats in fine wool and tweed, and feminine, round-shouldered dresses. The motif conjured terms such as "classic" and "timeless", though there was one unexpected element that Lagerfield meant to stand out.

Lagerfield seemingly meant to introduce an new angle of haute couture design by incorporating a loosely hanging fabric flap to almost every look. WWD described the phenomenon as, "Almost every
outfit sported said appendage, cut clean and rectangular,
and attached in back at shoulders, waist or hips, sometimes with bold
contrasting facings." Although the designer played with various lengths and dimensions of the flaps (some even appearing from inside the garment), it reportedly worked the best when kept to skirt length on suits and dresses. There were a few looks that boasted a floor length flap for an extra dose of drama, though Lagerfield made sure to remind the press it was different from a train. "Trains," Lagerfield noted, "sounds pretentious."

Lagerfield broke loose a bit more with his collection of evening wear that ran the gamut from long, sweeping gowns with "pinwheels" of Lesage embroidery to fun, flirty cocktail dresses in vibrant hues. He had cream colored, ruffled confections and space age, sparkly nude bodysuits. His personal homage to the time-honored couture tradition of featuring a wedding gown as the finale featured a multi-tiered dress in a circles-skirted retro shape. Trailing behind the dress was a cascade of ruffled tulle in what appeared to be a, dare we say it, bridal train! 

-Alia Rajput

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