All roads lead to Rome
For Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2016 collection, Karl Lagerfeld brought Paris to the city of Rome –literally– ,in the form of middle 60’s road, runway. Perfectly putted at the iconic Italian film studio, Cinecittà Roma, the show also debuted Chanel’s latest short film, Once and Forever, starring Kristen Stewart as Coco Chanel.
Karl Lagerfeld’s long lasting relationship with Rome is not something new , considering his half-century-long collaboration with Fendi. Coco Chanel also loved Rome. She dressed some of the greatest actresses of her time — Jeanne Moreau, Romy Schneider, Anouk Aimee — for their performances for Italian masters Fellini, Visconti and Antonioni. We already know how Lagerfeld feels about those women, those men and their movies. So this perfect fitting, perfectly explains his decision to make this connection among the cities of fashion and to finally bring his Métiers d’Art show — the one which each year settles in a different city with a Coco connection — to celebrate the artists and artisans of Chanel’s ateliers.
Besides my thoughts, the whole thing was simply-put extraordinary. What Lagerfeld originally envisioned, was a salute to the timeless romantic idea of Paris in combination with the detailed and chic Rome. When the clothes themselves got dressy and architectural, there were impressive echoes of Roman alta moda’s glory days, especially in a reversed cape which folded like bird’s wings in the kind of dramatic silhouette that characterized a world famous Italian designer of that kind, Roberto Capucci’s work.
The absolute surprise of this production was its monochrome set, black and white, but with the silvery sheen of old film stock. Lagerfeld explained that sets for movies filmed in black and white, from the silent onwards, were actually built in black and white. What was remarkable here was that the tonal gradations one remembers from those old films were flawlessly duplicated. He insisted that the set was a practical necessity because the clothes he’d designed would have been lost against a coloured backdrop.
He called , Kristen Stewart and Geraldine Chaplin as actresses playing different generations of Chanel (something the pair have already done more than once for Lagerfeld).
Considering Karl Lagerfeld’s mind, always ahead of his time these choices were not made by accident. Once is Forever, Lagerfeld might have been saying.
Because, Chanel is as timeless as Paris. And they will both endure.
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