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A Day at the Beach with Chanel
Chanel breaks the rules and sets new ones on how to dress for that moment of sheer freedom.
By T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore
/29 March 2019
A languid day by the ocean can be an underrated form of luxury, but that was where Karl Lagerfeld transported some 3,000 audience to for Chanel’s Spring/Summer ’19, one of the late creative director’s final collections for the house.
The Grand Palais underwent an overhaul where at the main hall sprawled a sandy beach replete with a seascape vista: a cloud-speckled blue sky, real rolling waves, lifeguards, a Tiki hut. As the barefooted models frolicked down the artificial shoreline — laughing, their arms interlinked, sandals dangling from their hands — the intended essence was palpable: a sense of confident ease; a return to an airy and carefree esprit that could easily be forgotten in the midst of these troubling times.
Which was why T Singapore headed for the seaside, all game for a scavenger hunt. At the beach, our subject blissfully basked in the warmth, studying her map before setting out on a trail to discover the season’s collectibles. From a pearl necklace washed up on the shore to blush pink side-packs shrouded in a palm tree, each find brings our subject closer to her consummate summer wardrobe.
The Spring/Summer ’19 collection exhibited 82 looks in gelato shades of mint green and sorbet pink, lemon yellow and mother-of-pearl white — accentuated with black and denim navy, and parasol motifs printed on chiffon. The Chanel tweed suit came reinvented in a beach-apt riff, where more room for movement was provided through punctuated volume: shoulders broad, sleeves flared and hung loose. Some evening gowns were twisted across the chest, a witty nod to how one might do to a beach towel. Spins on relaxed robes cabanes, or “beach hut dresses”, were rendered in luminous tweed or lace ruffles — not materials one would pair with sea and sand, yet somehow ethereally fitting nonetheless. In Chanel’s playbook, dressing for the beach isn’t bound by any rules — a woman gets to wear whatever and however she likes to.
What could be better than a Chanel bag? Two Chanel bags, naturally. The side-packs, as the house would have it called, is made of two of the house’s quilted bags designed to hang on each side of a person held in place with chain straps that criss-cross across the chest; it’s meant to be slipped on as one would a vest. The side-pack lets the Chanel woman to go on as she should — with ample space for all beach essentials yet entirely hands-free.
Her feet should be just as free. She was to stroll barefoot, Lagerfeld decided. After the show, the late creative director remarked at how good his models looked sans footwear, in utter surprise considering his post at a house that sells thousands of pairs of shoes each year. Yet it was a matter of shifting the role of footwear: in this moment of freedom, her mules — sleek with plexiglass heels on cork soles — are to dangle in hand or attached to her bag.
A distinct ’90s flavour for liberal accessorising and logo-wielding brand allegiance should perhaps be a necessity for the season of freedom. At the show were a maelstrom of maximalist jewellery: stacked lucite bangles, sautoir necklaces bedecked with pearls, earrings encrusted with shells. While perched on several of the models’ noses were gold aviators and logo-emblazoned visors. Then there were the straw sunhats. Either wide-brimmed or left raw and frayed at the edges, the French house alongside the milliners of Maison Michel spun the classic beach hat in bold renditions. At Chanel, the message was clear: unbridled self-expression is part of one’s fun in the sun.
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Words: Bianca Husodo
Videographer: Anue Studios
Creative Director: Jack Wang
Producer: Michelle Kok
Hair and Makeup: Manisa Tan using Chanel Beauty, assisted by Ashley Ng
Model: Yuwen X (Mannequin)
Stylist’s Assistant: Sng Ler Jun
Wardrobe: Chanel Spring/Summer 2019
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T: The New York Times Style Magazine, and the T logo are trademarks of The New York Times Co., NY, USA, and are used under license by Atlas Press Pte Ltd.Content reproduced from T: The New York Times Style Magazine, copyright 2016 The New York Times Co. and/or its contributors, all rights reserved. The views and opinions expressed within T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore are not necessarily those of The New York Times Company or those of its contributors."
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