From Working Girl to Bufflalo Gal: Chanel Haute Couture is an 80’s/90’s mash up….

Chanel Couture s14 wedding dress

CHANEL COUTURE – Cara as the Runaway Bride complete with kicks…………

So the great and the good have been showing in Paris this week and, as expected, there have been some beautiful pieces. Lady Gaga showed up for Donatella and the show was an absolute sizzler. Dior was a masterclass in detailed tailoring and Valli showed some Oscar-worthy ball gowns. And so to King Karl. In over 30 years at Chanel he has never produced a collection that has been overlooked. However, with the way the schedules are running now even fashion’s genius must be getting tired. After all, a few weeks after showing Resort (which is for pre-autumn), this week he has shown Couture (for summer) and then soon it will be Ready-to-Wear (for next winter). That is some workload. Now we know what designers have assistants but if you have ever seen Mr. Lagerfeld at work, then you will know he is a control freak, and I am throwing that out as a compliment. Nothing passes his eye.

I recently picked up a fashion magazine saying that the following seasons are currently on-trend: 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, 1980’s, 1900’s, 2000’s. Back up a bit, so you had a Gatsby moment and now you are throwing the fashion book at us. If you are young enough to not get all the references you will be cherry picking here there and everywhere: an 80’s cut-off tee with a 90’s slogan, a 50’s skirt and some Adidas Stan Smiths to top off the look. Great if you are 18. On me? Well I would probably having people telling me that I obviously need a ‘rest.’

So back to Chanel. The look has been constructed in two parts. The first is an elegant dress or suit, and then it is topped off by trainer and a bumbag, and that is kind of it.

You take a little bit of this………………….

GPF - Working Girl pic

WORKING GIRL – the legendary 80s movie where Melanie Griffith donned power suits. A generation of aspirational girls started turning up to work in sharp tailoring and Reeboks.

And mix in a hint of this……….

GPF - Neneh Cherry

NENEH CHERRY  – the groundbreaking musician whose street-inspired sports chic inspired copycat lace trimmed cycling shorts. A great beauty and style icon, she is just as fabulous today.

Top it off with a fanned hairdo and you get this………..

Chanel Couture s14 pin tweed suit zips and trainers

PASTEL PRETTY dress and jacket sported-up

Chanel Couture s14 Cara d suit and trainers

SIMPLE Elegant tailoring, and those trainers again………..

Chanel Couture s14 bum bag trainers

The Space Age fanny-pack makes a return to the fashion forefront

(To translate, a fanny-pack is just the U.S. version of bumbag. Not great words, are they?)

Chanel trainers


So I love the dresses, that goes without saying, and I actually think the accessories are cute, but just not together, at least not on me. But that’s the genius, because the ladies who will always buy Chanel couture dresses and suits will keep on buying them, but the fash-pack will be running all over the world trying to get their hands on the sports-inspired accessories. My fear? Well there’s is bound to be a WAG somewhere who will wear these trainers to the gym with some overblown handbag and curly-blow hairdo, no-sweat required. Eek.

GPF - Linda and Christy chanel ad

DOUBLE DENIM and BIKER BOOTS – Karl has been here before, back in the supermodel era……

Peter Lindgergh

This PETER LINBERGH shot really set Chanel apart, and turned a legendary fashion house into a covetable brand

Karl is a wily old fox. Back when he took over at Chanel, it was still Chanel, but not as we know it now. To say it had lost its lustre is an understatement. And then Karl came a long and right from the start, he retained the brand’s elegance but he was always on the lookout to see what the kids were wearing, and so he upped the styling and the brand we know today was re-born. After the high glam of the 80’s it was hard to position Chanel when the kids were wearing unisex Calvin Klein jeans, vintage slip dresses and woolly hats, so Karl injected a bit od that street-appeal into Chanel. It probably looks a little outdated now, but at the time it was a totally new concept for a French couture house to be referencing street-style. It took a while for the other houses to catch on, but before the end of the decade Marc Jacobs revolutionised Louis Vuitton and John Galliano turned the sedately beautiful world at Dior upside-down.

Chanel is now in the enviable position in that every generation of women wants a piece of Chanel. Not that Karl needs to up the ante in terms of customers, but it certainly means the house will stay robust, as the accessories, cosmetics and perfume, which make the most money, will continue to fly of the shelves. If I win the Euro Millions I will be jetting over for an ensemble  but I will leave the accessories to my niece.

You see the problem with any look is that once it moves down the fashion food chain and hits the real world, you are scarred by images like this one……..

GMTV Mr Motivator is back !....

And I am no fool. I don’t have a bumbag to my name but I still have a pair of Chanel kicks with a matching vest and silver shorts, circa 2000. Will I wear them again? Not a chance. Will I pass them on to my niece? Again, not a chance. It’s not because I am ungenerous but those pieces are infused with memories that I could never part with. That’s the magic of Chanel, and the wonder of Karl. He is simply unique.

Now bring on the next round……………….


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