Chanel Pre-Fall 2011 Collection

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Decadent ornamentation, stately silhouettes and a muted yet luxurious palette were the focus of Karl Lagerfeld’s pre-fall 2011 Métiers d’Art collection for Chanel, the ready to wear line embellished by Chanel’s own couture ateliers.

The creative director looked to the Byzantines for inspiration, wonderfully translating these sixteen century-old influences to the modern day with an underlying rock and roll sensuality.

“You know, there’s Chanel everywhere…I take a little idea and I make a collection”, explained Lagerfeld during fittings for the show.

“It’s all about mosaics,” said Lagerfeld, who traveled to Ravenna, Italy, to view the intricate artworks from the fifth and sixth centuries that adorn its churches and monuments. “I thought it was an influence that could be very much Chanel,” he said. “It’s also about a spirit.”

The designer had considered showing the collection in Istanbul, where the label recently opened a flagship, but decided that the Rue Cambon couture salons, once transformed into a gilded Turkish tearoom, was a more fitting location.

Tailored outerwear with decadent details such as jewelled buttons, opulent signature tweed suits  (flecked with gold and adorned with chains ) and regal architectural cuts ensured that the collection was grand, but reassuringly wearable.

Words: Marin Daley-Hawkins. Images: Dominique Maitre