Not Istanbul, not so Constantinople
December 20, 2010 § 1 Comment
I don’t have much to say about Chanel’s pre-fall collection, “Byzance”. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On 7th of December a part of the Chanel salon on Rue de Cambon, Paris had new clothes on: low sofas, hand-painted cushions, oriental rugs, wood panels on the walls and, of course, the famous reminiscent element of the Byzantine Empire, the mosaic that peeked with shyness from under rugs, on small coffee tables and on garments.
From one of Chanel’s latest travel-trough-time collection (a short trip to Imperial Russia), the Paris-Moscou collection (pre-fall 2009), all the embellishment of the clothes and the opulence of different accessories that reminded or not of Czars and Russians fairies (not so sure if I should call them princesses) gave a clue that Mr. Lagerfeld likes to turn away from reconstructing actual garments from the period of inspiration and play more with accessories, mostly head pieces and other jewels. When I say “reconstruction”, I’m not referring to actually copying patterns, but revisiting some important pieces from that culture or time.
The Paris-Byzance is a mild reconstruction of byzantine clothing regarding patterns. Staying true to spirit or tradition of the house of Chanel, there were two pieces suits, most in tweed, simple black or mostly black dresses, short tailored skirts, three-length-sleeves dresses or jackets. Nevertheless, there were some elements that brought back the Bizantine world: many jackets, upper parts of dresses and tops did have a tunic shape (not the actual dalmatica, but still a tunic), some models were dressed head to toe, as fashion during the Byzantine Empire was that people should hide their body.
What does resemble and revive the whole Byzantine spirit and offers the collection bliss is the craftsmanship with which the embellishment was made: embroidery, stones and metal panels attached to the garments that created variations of the mosaic, small but noticeable head pieces, sandals covered in stones.
As for the colors, the deep toned color palette does take us back in time: dark red or wine, emerald green, gold, bronze and, of course, tyrian purple and royal purple. Deep colors and rich embellishment in Byzantine clothing are Middle East and Orient influences as a result of trade with these regions.
Deep blue satin dresses
Tyrian purple trousers and tunics
Thumbs up, Chanel. Looks like Constantinople got the works!
For more information about the collection, reviews, images, the Chanel website is the key.
Chanel.com (the news section is more interesting)
Fashionencyclopedia.com (offers information about Byzantine fashion, especially the dalmatica)
Thecherryblossomgirl.com (this girl actually was invited to the show)