In the middle of the hustle and bustle of New York Fashion Week, I received an email from Style Republic Magazine's Editor-in-Chief, Brittany Law. The reason for the email? I was being asked to visit the Chanel Showroom in Manhattan for a private presentation of the house's Fall/Winter Haute Couture 2015-16 collection, entitled "Le Cercle Privé".
Armed with a mid-afternoon appointment, my camera, and a healthy dose of excitement, I shuffled down Fifth Avenue towards the showroom. The doors opened on to the 12th floor, and in front of me stood the first rack of looks from the collection. The space itself is (as one would expect), a production; the carpets were graphic with a motif of overlapping squares with insets of diamond shapes and the interlocking "C" logo. A couple of seating areas were staged with half-moon shaped tables that looked similar to the card tables seen at the presentation in Paris, and each slot in the tables had a purpose - from holding meticulously lined rows of spools of threads, to compartments filled with Chanel buttons in every shape, colour and size. Glass columns stood on the surfaces, filled with feathers, zippers and various braided trims.
Haute Couture is unique; you can see it, feel it, and it's a real privilege to wear such clothes.
What I found most interesting about this collection is that it successfully fuses traditional Haute Couture techniques with modern technology. Karl Lagerfeld utilized Selective Laser Sintering (SLS - More commonly known as 3D printing) to put a 3-dimensional twist on the collection. The material is surprisingly strong and durable; while it may look stiff and heavy, it is surprisingly seamless, and light to the touch. "Fashion has to follow everything that is going on in the world, and I like the idea of the most iconic jacket of the 20th century, redone in a technique that once was not possible to imagine," Lagerfeld states.
The collection was all about fusing contrasting elements and styles together; while the most obvious was the Traditional Haute Couture Techniques and 3D printing, the mix of hard and soft, and masculine and feminine shapes were also very prevalent themes. One of the most incredible pieces to see up close was Look 33, a bone satin dress with a rolled hemline and a remarkable 3D motif created out of crystal tubes; each tube was individually placed, and stacked to create a pyramid-like structure across the bust.
Chanel, thank you kindly for inviting Style Republic Magazine into your Monte Carlo style space; I left my appointment feeling like I won the jackpot.*