You Can't Mistake My Geometry, To Paraphrase Girls Aloud
[All images via Style.com]
I'd like to think that Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by retro gaming when he created these dresses - something between Battleships, Tetris, Simon Says (the electronic hand-held version with coloured panels you had to watch in sequence) and Scrabble - but he was probably thinking of something much more high-brow. The strapless dress on the right also reminds me of crazy paving and mosaic bathroom tiles, both of which were a major 90s trend pioneered by shows like Changing Rooms and Ground Force, but I don't think these were at the forefront of Karl's thoughts either.
If anyone had told me that Kaiser Karl would be waving the flag for wind turbines then I'd have laughed. They might be thin but they're probably far too commonplace for his tastes, right? Well, the new Chanel woman loves a bit of renewable energy print on her top, mixed with a buzzing colour palette that could be fresh out of an art student's mood board. When you pick out individual hues, as in the centre image with the gorgeous skinny-cut trouser suit, things really start to come alive.
Cutting Cloth in Clashing Colours
It's a bit embarrassing how much I want a PVC raincoat in a stupidly bright colour, however naff they seem. Now that Chanel's got in on the act with this deliciously wipe-clean number in cerise then I think it's fair to say I won't be the only one wanting to splash around in puddles in something shiny, practical and yet incredibly garish.
Meanwhile the jacket/dress (whatever it appears to be) in the middle is definitely crying out to be adopted on the high street. That shape is pure Whistles/Zara/COS and it would work brilliantly for smarter occasions when you're dying to inject a bit of personality into formal-wear.
As for the last option, it's got a very flattering drop waist that appeals to my muffin top whilst not looking dowdy. The contrasting piping detail lifts this dress and makes it a bit quirky, whilst the (obviously geometric) tweed works well. It resembles a blueprint, in a good way.
The Bold and the Shoulderful
In the two outfits either side of that unfortunately pouting model it's clear that the shoulder is definitely a new erogenous zone for Chanel; it has to be inflated, supported and dominating. Meanwhile in the centre image you can see how the un-padded shoulder still manages to upstage the ensemble, with a blank expanse of collarbone.
Definitely harking back to school with this collection (not only due to the catwalk resembling graph paper), it would be rude to ignore the pieces with more than a dash of academia about them. Firstly the shirt that looks like it's had a run-in with someone making paper snowflakes, followed by the swimsuit that adheres to the principals of a Venn diagram as well as making brilliant use of the interlocking Cs of the Chanel logo.
Last on the register is the carefully cut-out three pocket jacket and trousers, both of which could have been crafted from Fuzzy Felt. I love the school influences and I think they make it so easily memorable, adding a personal touch because they get everyone thinking back to their time in the playground.
However, with such a large collection to show there were always going to be duff moments ahead, even for Chanel. These three looks jarred with me because they literally had me cringing and squirming in my seat, and here were my immediate thoughts.
Left: I'm back in Tammy, circa 1999. Everything's hot and smells of Charlie and pick & mix sweets. Some twat has brought out hilarious patchwork denim pieces and for some reason everyone is going wild for them, even the ones with cowboy influences. Oh, and now there's a fad for making everything look like it's made out of denim too. Brilliant. I feel a bit sick.
Centre: I am even younger - we're talking early 90s now. My older sister has been banned from using the scissors at her primary school as she was getting a bit violent (true story). She has had to make her collage by ripping up little squares of paper. It didn't look quite like this, but it could have done if she worked for Chanel at the time.
Right: Ok, so now I'm about seven or eight. I haven't been banned from scissors - far from it - but I've just discovered the joys of tissue paper in contrasting colours, made into flowers. I think I will make everyone's birthday presents using bits of tissue paper or something. They will surely love it and appreciate all my hard work and not think it looks a bit scrunchy and weird.
Now it's back to reality with a bang... so that's what I thought of Chanel. I loved the geometry and the playfulness with the playground elements and the graph paper runway. I enjoyed the puffed up shoulders and the rainbow colours; it felt like enough of an adventure without compromising on basic Chanel style. If the design team could only stop being scissor-happy right at the end or being allowed to pick up that little bit of denim then this would have been an utter triumph. As it stands, it's an almost-triumph in my book.