Punk meets history in first Chanel show in Asia

The original Chanel palette gets a kick from bondage accessories at the fashion house’s Singapore show

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Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld’s Cruise 2014 collection mixed the wide pants and hobble maxi skirts that Coco Chanel wore 100 years ago in her first hat shop in Deauville, France.

The relaxed long cardigans in knits and the tailored blazers were inspired by Lagerfeld’s short black-and-white film about Chanel, entitled “Once Upon a Time” and starring Kiera Knightley.

Balancing this nostalgia were punk chain necklaces and bondage chokers and bracelets, just like in the New York Met’s Punk exhibit. Yes, punk is having a revival moment, if only in the details.

In a building stripped bare, the models, led by Stella Tennant, sashayed through 79 exits at a former nutmeg plantation and army barracks in Singapore’s Loewen Cluster on Dempsey Hill. This island state boasts six Chanel stores; this was the first time Chanel showed in Asia.

“I stuck to the original pallette of Chanel, navy blue, white, black and beige. But the surprise was the evening treatment of hand-painted sequins to mimic feathers and ruffles,” said Lagerfeld, in an interview shown via livestream on Chanel.com. The newest shape for an evening bag was the iconic perfume bottle of Chanel No. 5 in black or clear plexiglass.

“I love how Karl keeps the legacy of Chanel alive, always updating it to look young, cool and fresh,” said Dakota Fanning in the same livestream feature.

André Leon Talley, Carine Rotfield and Anna dello Russo loved the lace looks, boucle suits, sailor separates, denim treatment and black chiffon evening numbers from the House of Chanel, one of the very few fashions brands still owned by the original Wertheimer family.

Originally, Pierre and Paul Wertheimer partnered with Coco Chanel to build the perfume line, then bought the brand after her death. Now, the company has been passed down to Alain and Gerald Wertheimer, who live invisibly and anonymously.

“As Chanel is privately owned, it is not obligated to divulge its earnings. However, drawing on an audit by Swiss and Cayman Islands tax services, a recent article in Capital magazine estimates that Chanel has in the neighborhood of 8.5 billion francs in annual worldwide sales—twice the turnover of Dior and three times that of Saint Laurent,” wrote Paris Voice, a fashion blog.

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