Thursday, 13 May 2010

Saint Tropez Spirit

It is likely that during spring time, no place is more glamourous than the Côte d’Azur in Southern France. With the 63th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival just around the corner (btw. this year's jury president is Tim Burton), another glorious event heralded the opening of the glamour season. The occasion is the launch of Kaiser Karl's Chanel Cruise Collection, which was launched yesterday in Saint Tropez in front of Sénéquier, one of the Riviera's hotspot bars to see and being seen.
Chanel's cruise collection '11 had to outgrow its atmospheric precedent collection for '10, which had been taking place at the Lido di Venezia and had Thomas Mann's Death in Venice as its theme. I cannot help remembering last year’s extravaganza and wondered, if Chanel - the brand which is arguably offering the most important cruise collection amongst the designer brands, can live up to last year’s sensation.
This time, Karl Lagerfeld's approach was a lot lighter in comparison to last year’s literary backing. Chanel’s multitalented chief designer tried to revamp the Côte d’Azur feeling of the 60ies and 70ies. Another designer gone director, Lagerfeld launched his short film "Remember Now", at the Cinéma de la Renaissance the night before the défilé of the Cruise Collection ’11.
Karl basically cross linked his short film, which portrays an ageing playboy’s (Pascal Greggory) nocturnal foray into the carefree night life of the jeunesse dorée in Saint Tropez – starring Lagerfeld’s entourage and inspirations – amongst others Elisa Sednaoui, Freja Beha Erichsen, Abbey Lee Kershaw, Heidi Mount, Leigh Lezark and his omnipresent muse Baptiste Giabiconi. Some wicket pundits may call it another midlife crisis masterpiece – however, considered as the frame work to his collection, I believe it perfectly embodied the Saint Tropez life of its rich and/or beautiful (seasonal) inhabitants strained to the point of cliché.
Back to the actual collection: Karl Lagerfeld had his models disembark a speedboat, barefoot and wearing loose summer clothing like tunics, light, flowing trousers and jumpsuits. The impression was that after sunbathing and partying on a yacht all day long, its glamorous priveleged occupants came ashore for a sunset apéritif and a stroll at Saint Tropez’ harbour. Light accessories, dangling necklaces, bangles, sumptuous anklets, strappy sandals, layered summer outfits with frills- the collection itself appeared surprisingly youthful and fresh, yet with the unmistakable Chanel signature elements and a well-thought-through setting in front of a beautiful scenery.
Pastels and pinks, cropped bouclé jackets and dresses – even the occasional denim skirt has caught up with Chanel. Lagerfeld’s collection seemed very relaxed, carefree and felt a lot lighter than previous years'. You could clearly feel the enjoyment and Mediterranean ease of Saint Tropez in the youthful overall-concept.
In particular if you had seen the short film, one could detect Karl Lagerfeld’s homage to the golden times of his second home - the Côte d’Azur- in the 60ies and 70ies. His references paid tribute to Jade Jagger and the white pantsuit she wore at her wedding to Mick Jagger in 1971 , to Brigitte Bardot – embodied by the sensuous Giorgia May Jagger and generally to the spirit of the times. High-waisted denim flares in brown, black or white, flowy hippie inspired tops and tunics, knitwear as well as the suede leather overknee boots gave a clear flair of the bygone era.
All in all, Karl Lagerfeld once more managed to present an intrinsically coherent collection -and beyond that an entire concept - which framed his inspirations beautifully and once more proved that he is a man with a vision and an enthusiast for the big picture.


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