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Chanel A/W11

Karl Lagerfeld instilled a sense of covetable reality into his latest collection for Chanel

In a season and particularly in Paris where designers have been chanelling French bourgeois dressing and trying to reinstate old fashioned stances on being elegant and chic, it seems ironic that Chanel, the very epitome of elegance for a lot of people should head in the other direction, to a darker place dressed in Lagerfeld’s version of Chanel workwear or dare we say, street wear? Alright, there were no tracksuit bottoms or trainers but everything was suitably earthed with biker boots that firmly stayed on the ground and a vast portion of the collection that showed Chanel ‘dressed down’ in the language it knows well.

The textures were disheveled, shredded and artfully tattered as they walked through steaming coals as if to take the luxurious nature of Chanel clothes down a notch. Trousers were slouchy and masculine and when paired with a nonchalant tweed jacket with an attached tailored blazer underneath, it seemed to reference the very real way of how people wear Chanel – pairing tweed jackets with jeans and trainers, slinging a quilted bag with anything – these are the modern wearers of Chanel that aren’t so concerned with looking absolutely polished. It never strayed too far into the dusty beaten track though as at the core of the collection were still those luxuriously textured tweeds (despite the distressed appearance) that were made up into capes, jackets and sometimes matched with ruffled neck blouse.

The contrast between the Chanel fabrication codes and workwear shapes, seen in pieces such as a slouchy jumpsuit with patch pockets was always at play throughout the collection. Until the required dressier elements started appearing with floor length knit dresses and textured dresses with the appearance of the shiny facets of charcoal.  Another interesting shape turn was the final preoccupation with the evening jumpsuit as well as cocktail pyjama-like outfits in keeping with the louche and loose feeling of a collection that showcased an approachable side to Chanel as well as one that shows Lagerfeld taking a risk amidst this season’s wave of Parisian chic.