Tag Archives: Chanel

New perfumes for her: Kristen Stewart named face of Chanel’s ‘Gabrielle Chanel’ fragrance

No stranger to the luxury brand, actress Kristen Stewart is set to star as the face of the new “Gabrielle Chanel” campaign. On May 10, the French luxury label revealed the American actress, as the face of its new fragrance, ‘Gabrielle Chanel,’ named after the legendary French designer who founded the Paris-based fashion house. The fragrance is the brand’s first standalone fragrance in 15 years.

Kristen Stewart, who is already a Chanel brand ambassador, has taken on a prestigious new role for the French fashion house, as the face of the label’s latest fragrance, created in honor of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Having starred in Chanel’s recent ‘Gabrielle’ Bag campaign, the Métiers d’Art collections from Paris to Dallas and Paris to Rome in 2016, Stewart is a veteran of the brand.

The muse will star in an advertising campaign featuring a video shot by young British filmmaker, Ringan Ledwidge, and a photo campaign shot by Karim Sadli. However, fashion fans will have to wait until the fall to catch a glimpse of the campaign film.

‘Gabrielle Chanel’ is a new female fragrance created by Olivier Polge in partnership with the Chanel fragrance creation and development lab. The brand has not yet revealed any of the ingredients selected to create the scent.

A brand ambassador for the French fashion house since 2013, Kristen Stewart recently fronted the campaign for Chanel’s new bag series. The actress has starred in movies such as ‘Personal Shopper,’ the ‘Twilight’ series and ‘Café Society’.

For more information, do visit Chanel.

Luxury spending trends 2017: Japan second largest luxury market in the world

Tight-fisted shoppers, unsteady economic growth and a shrinking population: Japan doesn’t exactly fit the image of a spending powerhouse these days. But you would never know it in Ginza — Tokyo’s answer to the Champs-Elysees or Fifth Avenue — where a new 13-storey upscale mall is proving that Japan is still a whale in the luxury business.

The country logs some $22.7 billion in annual spending on top-end goods made by brands including Chanel, Dior, and Prada, ranking it as the world’s number two luxury market behind the United States. “Luxury products may be more expensive, but they are very well-made,” said 79-year-old Toshiko Obu, carrying her longtime Fendi bag outside the Ginza Six building, which has been drawing big crowds since last week’s opening.

Japan is renowned among the world’s priciest retailers for its discriminating clientele—Chanel tries to keep local customers physically separated from tourists packing more cash than class. “You shouldn’t forget that a big portion of the luxury clientele is here in Japan,” Sidney Toledano, chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture, told AFP at the opening of the 241-store building. “It remains a strategic market for luxury and, I’d say, true luxury.”

‘Biting their fingernails’

Dior is counting on Japan’s luxury market to rise this year, while rival Chanel is also expecting an upbeat 2017 after global sales of personal luxury goods barely grew last year. “We did not lose our character,” said Richard Collasse, head of Chanel in Japan. “There are brands that are suffering—the ones that at some stage stopped investing in Japan because China was the new El Dorado. And today they are biting their fingernails.”

Few brands predicted that deep-pocketed Chinese shoppers visiting Japan would support its luxury market—tourists account for about one-third of top-end spending.

Japan is hoping to land 40 million visitors in 2020, the year that Tokyo hosts the Olympics. Last year, some six million Chinese visited, compared with 2.4 million in 2014. “Historically, (Japan has) been a very insular luxury market where 90 to 95 percent of the spending was by locals,” said Joëlle de Montgolfier, Paris-based director of consumer and luxury product research at consultancy Bain & Company. But now some 30 percent of sales are generated by foreign visitors owing to tourism, she added.

A stronger yen dented visitors’ purchasing power last year, with luxury sales down one percent, after a nine percent rise in 2015. Dior’s Toledano said it is an opportunity to refocus on Japanese clientele. “We don’t ignore tourists, of course, but we’re not a duty-free shop,” he added.

‘Touching everything’

Some other Chanel shops in Tokyo have a separate cosmetics and perfume section reserved for top Japanese customers, in a bid to keep them away from the nouveau riche crowd. It also tips off local clientele about the expected arrival time of tourist buses so they can avoid them.”The loyal Japanese clients tend to run away from customers who were not very well raised and are wearing whatever or lying all over the sofa, touching everything,” said Chanel’s Collasse.

Dior’s haute couture show at the new mall’s opening featured Japanese-inspired dresses, underscoring a focus on the local market. But warning signs lurk behind smiling clerks and glitzy interiors at the new property on one of the world’s priciest shopping streets. Japan has struggled to reverse a decades-long economic slump while a falling population continues to shrink its labour force—and the pool of future luxury consumers.

Younger people, many on tenuous work contracts, don’t have the money or the same interest in luxury brands anymore, especially since top-end goods can now be rented online instead, said Naoko Kuga, a consumer lifestyle analyst at Tokyo’s NLI Research Institute. “When you look at consumer purchasing behaviour, younger people put less value on luxury brand products” than previous generations, she said.

Featured Video Play Icon

Pharrell Williams stars in the Chanel’s fourth “Gabrielle” bag campaign

After Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret, the American singer and producer Pharrell Williams is the latest star to front Chanel’s “Gabrielle” bag campaign. Last year, he walked the runway for the brand’s Métiers d’Art show in Paris. Now, he is the first man to appear in one of the French luxury brand’s handbag ads.

The video features the “Happy” singer entering an empty concert venue, where he is soon overcome with childlike playfulness. He can be seen riding on a wheeled equipment case and balancing on a metal beam, for example, all with the “Gabrielle” bag worn cross-body and with several strings of pearls around his neck. Shot by French Filmmaker Antoine Carlier,

For this major campaign, entirely dedicated to Chanel’s new “Gabrielle” bag, the French luxury label has signed up four international ambassadors. Kristen Stewart, Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret have all starred as muses for the “Gabrielle” bag in specific campaigns, each set in their own universe.

For more information, do visit Chanel.

Featured Video Play Icon

Chanel “Gabrielle” bag collection: Caroline de Maigret wanders Paris in the third campaign

Following on from Kristen Stewart and Cara Delevingne, the French model and music producer Caroline de Maigret stars in the latest of a series of short films made to promote Chanel’s latest it-bag, the “Gabrielle”.  This short black-and-white film is imbued with French spirit and style.

The French fashion house has unveiled the third short film dedicated to its new “Gabrielle” bag, which is a nod to the first name of the brand’s founder. The film’s atmosphere and setting is very different from that of the previous two.

This new ad campaign stars none other than Chanel ambassador Caroline de Maigret, who is seen exploring an unmistakably Parisian apartment. Her natural style is brought to the fore in this black-and-white short film which is the work of the French director Olivier Assayas.

In the video, which consists of a single unbroken shot, Caroline de Maigret is seen wandering around a typically charming Parisian apartment, then she sees an appointment with “Gabrielle” noted in her diary and discovers the iconic “Gabrielle” bag sitting on a mantelpiece.

This is the third short film in a series about this new unisex bag. The first directed by Daniel Askill starred Kristen Stewart, while the second, directed by Shishi Yamazaki, was fronted by Cara Delevingne. The last as-yet-unreleased video will star Pharrell Williams.

For more information, visit Chanel.

Featured Video Play Icon

Chanel releases second film promoting new ‘Gabrielle’ bag, starring Cara Delevingne

The luxury fashion house Chanel released on Monday the second campaign film for its latest handbag launch, the “Gabrielle“, which is named after its founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

The animated clip, which stars British model Cara Delevingne, was created by Japanese filmmaker ShiShi Yamazaki using a technique called rotoscoping, which involves tracing over motion picture footage. Chanel’s colourful, Pop art-inspired film portrays Delevingne as a tomboyish skateboarder gliding through a surreal urban landscape, picking the “Gabrielle” bags off tree branches as she passes by.

Cara Delevingne has worked closely with Chanel over the years as well as appearing in a number of advertising campaigns, she has regularly taken a starring role in the brand’s Paris Fashion Week shows.

This latest movie is the second of four which are slated to be released by Chanel each week throughout April. The first, starring actress Kristen Stewart was unveiled last week, while two more, featuring the model and longtime Chanel muse Caroline de Maigret and the musician Pharrell Williams are still to come.

Gold blends in luxury watchmaking: 5 Gold blends in timepieces from Omega, Hublot and Chanel

Sedna gold is used with steel, here in the Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.5mm Chronograph

Sedna gold is used with steel, here in the Seamaster Planet Ocean 45.5mm Chronograph

There isn’t any status symbol that’s quite as ubiquitous as gold, and its universal appeal is easy to understand. The metal’s rarity is reason for its value, while its physical properties explain its allure gold’s density gives it heft, which implies weight and importance, while its inert nature is often associated with ideals of being constant and unchanging. That final property also means humans won’t be allergic to it, unlike silver, for example.

Still, gold isn’t without its limitations, chief among which is its softness that precludes pure gold from use in both jewellery and timepieces. By mixing gold with other metals to create alloys, however, hardness and other desirable properties can be attained. Yet this isn’t without cost literally. Alloys have lower gold content and thus less value, making them less precious unless the other metals in the mix are even more precious, like platinum. The question, then, is the purity of gold to be used in the context of watchmaking.

The watchmaking industry has settled on 18-karat (where gold accounts for 75 per cent of an alloy’s mass) as the de facto fineness for gold alloys used in timepieces. This standard is a good balance between maintaining the value of the alloy (due to its gold content), and the hardness and colours that can be achieved. Three main shades of gold are used in watches. Yellow gold is the most traditional, and retains the colour of pure gold. White gold contains nickel, palladium, or another white metal, and is usually rhodium plated for a brilliant shine. Rose gold, on the other hand, skews towards red thanks to the inclusion of copper.

Several manufactures have, in the past decade, introduced proprietary blends of gold in order to attain properties that aren’t present in the three typical alloys described above, and/or to differentiate their products. Clearly, there is still much room for development advancements are still being made as recently as 2016, when a titanium-gold alloy with four times the hardness of titanium was developed.

 Rods of Everose gold, which will be shaped into plates, tubes, bars, and wires, then machined into case components

Rods of Everose gold, which will be shaped into plates, tubes, bars, and wires, then machined into case components

Everose Gold

A manufacture that produces timepieces on the scale that Rolex does has the freedom and capability of deviating from the norm, to put it mildly. Rolex does exactly that when it comes to metallurgy. For a start, it uses 904L steel that has higher nickel and chromium content, which makes it more corrosion resistant and capable of attaining a brighter polish, albeit at the cost of greater difficulty in machining. This drawback is hardly cause for concern though, since Rolex produces its own cases anyway, and has acquired the necessary expertise and equipment to work 904L steel. A parallel exists in the development and production of gold alloys. Rolex’s in-house R&D department and gold foundry has allowed it to create its own blend of pink gold: Everose gold.

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Everose Rolesor case and bracelet

Oyster Perpetual Yacht-Master 40 with Everose Rolesor case and bracelet

According to Rolex, the drawback for regular formulations of pink/rose/red gold is reportedly a certain tendency to fade. To be fair, this is possible, but not necessarily probable a myriad of factors are at play here, from the age of the watch to the conditions it was subjected to. Peruse an auction catalogue featuring old timepieces, however, and it is apparent that some rose gold watches can and do lose their reddish touch to end up looking more like yellow gold. Rolex developed Everose gold to prevent such an eventuality. The alloy is produced in Rolex’s own foundry from pure 24K gold, based on the manufacture’s specific recipe. Everose gold’s exact composition is a closely guarded trade secret, but it is known to contain trace amounts of platinum, ostensibly to lock in its colour.

Rolex introduced Everose gold in 2005, and uses it exclusively in lieu of regular pink gold. In the Oyster Perpetual Sky-Dweller, for instance, this extends from the timepiece’s case to its crown, bezel, and even bracelet. Bimetallic references of Rolex watches that contain pink gold also use Everose gold, in a blend of gold and steel the manufacture dubs Rolesor.

 Magic Gold is produced in-house within Hublot’s laboratory, which has its own foundry for processing pure gold

Magic Gold is produced in-house within Hublot’s laboratory, which has its own foundry for processing pure gold

Magic Gold

There are actually two gold blends that are unique to Hublot. King Gold has a higher-than-normal percentage of copper to make it even redder than conventional red gold and, like Rolex’s Everose Gold, contains platinum that helps it to retain its hue. What’s arguably far more impressive is Magic Gold, which has an astonishing hardness of 1,000 Vickers that Hublot claims makes it the world’s first scratchproof gold alloy.

Calling Magic Gold an “alloy” is a slight misnomer. Although it stands at 18-carat purity like all the other gold alloys discussed here, Magic Gold isn’t actually a mixture of metals (and non-metals) that are melted and blended together in a foundry. Instead, the process of creating Magic Gold begins with boron carbide, a ceramic that is the third hardest substance currently known. Boron carbide powder is first compacted into a desired shape, before being sintered to form a porous solid. Pure molten gold is then forced into these pores under 200 bars of pressure, like saturating a sponge with water, before the combined chunk of material is cooled down. Voila! The resultant mass is Magic Gold: an incredibly hard ceramic matrix that’s literally filled with gold.

Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Hublot Big Bang Unico Magic Gold

Magic Gold was only introduced in 2012, and despite being successfully commercialised, remains a very challenging material for Hublot to work with. To machine Magic Gold, CNC machines equipped with ultrasonic cutters and diamond tipped tools had to be specially ordered from Germany. Milling and shaping Magic Gold components remains difficult even with such equipment just 28 bezels in this material requires around three weeks to machine. As such, production of Magic Gold parts remains limited for now, with an estimated 30 to 40 complete cases produced every month. As Hublot continues to refine its industrial processes and production efficiency with this material, however, its output is expected to scale up accordingly.

Globemaster in Sedna gold

Globemaster in Sedna gold

Sedna Gold

Omega has been making waves with its anti-magnetic movements and its involvement in developing the METAS certification, and rightly deserves attention for these efforts. The brand’s work in advancing material engineering, however, also warrants a closer look. It has, for instance, developed a process to inlay LiquidMetal, a zirconium-based amorphous alloy, into ceramic bezels using a combination of high pressure and heat. The result is the seamless melding of two contrasting materials that yield a perfectly smooth surface. Omega has also made inroads into its mastery over gold. Case in point: Ceragold, which was first introduced in 2012. Instead of LiquidMetal, 18-carat gold is combined with ceramic to form Ceragold, using a slightly different process to yield an equally high contrast bezel that is also smooth to the touch. To create Ceragold, the bare ceramic bezel is first engraved with markings, before being completely PVD-coated with a conductive metallic substrate. This interim product is then electroplated with 18-carat gold, before being polished to reveal the original ceramic surface and markings that remain filled in with gold.

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer in Sedna gold, with Ceragold bezel

Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M Master Chronometer in Sedna gold, with Ceragold bezel

A year after Ceragold’s release, Omega introduced Sedna gold. Named after the red-coloured minor planet, which is currently the furthest observed object in the solar system, this 18-carat alloy is a proprietary blend of gold, copper, and palladium. Like other rose gold alloys, Sedna gold owes its unique colour to its copper content. Palladium, on the other hand, functions here like platinum in other gold blends it prevents the copper content in the alloy from oxidising, thus maintaining Sedna gold’s colour. This alloy has been used in various collections, including the De Ville Trésor, Constellation, and Seamaster, and appears to have superseded the orange gold blend that Omega previously used.

Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold

Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold

Honey Gold

A. Lange & Söhne debuted honey gold in 2010 when it presented the “Homage to F.A. Lange” collection, which consisted of three limited edition timepieces cased in the precious material. The manufacture has been extremely selective with its usage of the alloy; it took a full five years for honey gold to make its return, this time at Watches & Wonders 2015 where the 1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange” was presented as a 200-piece limited edition. Only two other watches were issued in the material subsequently, and in even smaller runs: the Lange 1 and Lange 1 Time Zone in honey gold totalled just 20 and 100 pieces respectively.

Aesthetically, honey gold’s hue falls between its pink and yellow siblings, with a noticeably lower saturation it is paler, yet redder than yellow gold, and has a marked resemblance to honey. The alloy’s colour stems from its higher proportion of copper vis-à-vis regular yellow gold, and the addition of zinc, but it retains 18-carat purity. Honey gold wasn’t actually developed for A. Lange & Söhne with appearance as the primary objective though. Instead, the manufacture was concerned with creating a more scratch-resistant case. With a hardness of 320 Vickers, honey gold has around twice the hardness of regular 18-carat yellow gold, which measures between 150 to 160 Vickers. The result? A hardier watch case that’s less prone to dings and scratches.

1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange”

1815 “200th Anniversary F. A. Lange”

Despite its greater hardness, honey gold isn’t necessarily more difficult to work. Any equipment that is primed to machine steel cases, which are even harder, is more than capable of handling honey gold. When used in movement components, however, the material does present challenges for the finisseurs at A. Lange & Söhne. The “Homage to F.A. Lange” collection’s timepieces, for instance, have movements with balance cocks rendered in honey gold instead of German silver. Hand-engraving them with the manufacture’s signature floral motif is thus more difficult and time consuming, while also requiring a special set of burins with harder blades.

Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel Le Séducteur with its case and dial elements in beige gold

Mademoiselle Privé Coromandel Le Séducteur with its case and dial elements in beige gold

Beige Gold

When it comes to colours, Coco Chanel’s closest association will always be with black. After all, she was the person responsible for adding the little black dress to fashion’s lexicon. Beige was also a staple in her palette though, and like how her love for Coromandel screens continues to inform the designs of some Chanel products today, the couturière’s penchant for beige remains an inspiration for the house she built.

For Chanel, the logical extension to having fabrics and leathers in beige is a gold blend in that very hue. The alloy is a nod to Coco, who professed to “go[ing] back to beige because it’s natural”. Indeed, beige gold does conjure up images of sand, or lightly sun-kissed skin. Unique to the maison, it is an 18-carat blend that falls between yellow and pink gold in colour, while appearing significantly more muted than either. Subtlety is the name of the game here the alloy harmonises with some skin tones instead of popping out in contrast against it, and matches with a wide range of colours and textures regardless of one’s sartorial choices.

Monsieur de Chanel in beige gold

Monsieur de Chanel in beige gold

Instead of introducing beige gold in its more established jewellery line, Chanel chose to feature it in its timepieces first. The material was unveiled at BaselWorld 2014 in the J12-365 collection, where it was placed front and centre in the form of beige gold bezels sitting atop polished ceramic cases. Other women’s collections followed the next year, with line extensions for the Première, Mademoiselle Privé, and Boy.Friend all sporting full beige gold cases.

Of course, the material was never meant to be exclusive to women’s watches. In 2016, beige gold crossed over to Chanel’s jewellery division in Coco Crush rings, and further proved its versatility by appearing in a men’s timepiece: the Monsieur de Chanel.

Cruise 2017 makeup collections: Chanel introduces ‘Les Indispensables de l’Eté’ collection

New shades of "Rouge Coco Shine" and "Rouge Coco Stylo". Image courtesy of Chanel

New shades of “Rouge Coco Shine” and “Rouge Coco Stylo”. Image courtesy of Chanel

The French luxury label has unveiled its first Cruise 2017 makeup collection, created by Lucia Pica, Chanel’s global creative makeup and colour designer. The new collection, called “Les Indispensables de l’Eté”, redefines the notion of glamour, channelling a liberated and natural vision of it, as envisaged by Gabrielle Chanel several decades earlier.

This sunny offering is inspired by the liberty, audacity and carefree, laid-back vibes of the summer season. It is this spirit of summer, this ability to let go, that Lucia Pica set out to capture in the Cruise 2017 collection.

"Les Beiges Healthy Glow Luminous Colour". Image courtesy of Chanel

“Les Beiges Healthy Glow Luminous Colour”. Image courtesy of Chanel

The products in the “Les Indispensables de l’Eté” collection are designed to create a naturally glamorous summer face, with a makeup look that’s not overly complicated. Inspired by summer landscapes and their inherent luminosity, as well as summer sunsets, the collection draws inspiration first and foremost from nature.

“The concept is that there is no concept! It is about sensuality, feeling and the spirit of things,” explains Lucia Pica. “It’s about being yourself, rising above judgements or perceptions of what you should be.”

Anna Ewers wears products from the Chanel Cruise 2017 collection - "Les Indispensables de l'Eté". Image courtesy of Chanel

Anna Ewers wears products from the Chanel Cruise 2017 collection – “Les Indispensables de l’Eté”. Image courtesy of Chanel

These natural vibes are captured in Chanel’s “Les Beiges Healthy Glow Luminous Colour”, which, as the name suggests, gives skin a healthy, radiant and lightly bronzed glow. This facial powder has a lightweight texture for a natural, second-skin effect, with ultra-fine gold particles bringing luminosity and glow. It’s available in five shades (Light, Medium Light, Medium, Medium Deep, Deep), ranging from a pink/beige to an intense bronze.

The collection’s nature-inspired lip colours reflect a spectrum of sunny shades from sunrise to sunset, bringing summery sensuality to this seasonal beauty look. The iconic “Rouge Coco Shine” comes in new shades, with the peachy “Golden Sun” and the nude “Golden Sand”, while “Rouge Coco Stylo” comes in the soft beige of “Panorama” and the coral pink “Esquisse”.

New colours of "Le Vernis Longue Tenue" nail polish. Image courtesy of Chanel

New colours of “Le Vernis Longue Tenue” nail polish. Image courtesy of Chanel

Four shades of “Vernis Longue Tenue” nail polish complete this Chanel Cruise 2017 collection. “Sargasso” is a shimmering grey and “Coquillage,” “Coralium” and “Sea Whip” are softer, pinkish shades.

New lip gloss by Chanel: Lily-Rose Depp is the face of the new Rouge Coco Gloss by the French luxury brand

 

Energetic and youthful, Chanel introduces the new face of their Rouge Coco Gloss collection: Lily-Rose Depp. The French fashion house’s love affair with Lily-Rose Depp seems set to last, echoing the label’s long-standing ties with her mother, Vanessa Paradis. No stranger to the luxury fashion brand, the young actress and model is already the ambassador of the N°5 L’EAU fragrance and has opened the brand’s recent Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The Franco-American actress shows off her radiant smile in a playful and sensual campaign from Mario Testino.

24 lip-smacking shades

Chanel’s Rouge Coco Gloss is a sensual and mouth-watering collection of lip gloss products, developed in partnership with Lucia Pica, the brand’s global creative makeup and colour director. The luscious glosses have a melting gel texture thanks to a “hydraboost complex” formulation, comprising natural waxes of jojoba, sunflower and mimosa, plus a natural coconut oil derivative.

Rouge Coco Gloss comes in 24 colours with a variety of effects to suit all tastes, styles and moods, from nude to chocolate brown and several shades of pink, red and purple. The range of colours and textures is further expanded thanks to three accompanying top coats: a clear topcoat with added sparkle, a translucent neon orange-yellow and a deep black.

Chanel Rouge Coco Gloss launches in Singapore on 24th February 2017 at Chanel Boutiques.

Luxury watches: 7 mechanical timepieces with digital displays

We popularly refer to the hands of time in many everyday events, typically when we want to talk about going back in time to fix something or making a tiresome meeting end quicker. We process these entirely natural set of metaphorical motions largely without thinking about why time even needs to have hands. In truth, since digital quartz watches spread like wildfire upon the wrists of more humans than ever before in the 1970s, time hasn’t needed hands to make sense. Soon, with the proliferation of those pesky handheld computers called mobile phones (our data suggests you are reading this story on one right now), an entire generation will cease to understand and appreciate anything other than digital time.

Well, mechanical watches too have caught the digital bug — digital display that is, as these seven watches show. Ok, some of them still use hands but mainly in unexpected ways or for aesthetic reasons.

This spread was first featured in World of Watches’ (WOW) Festive issue. The WOW team would like to highlight that this spread was incorrectly credited. The digital artist responsible is Zi Wen.

 

Exclusive Chanel fragrances: Les Exclusifs de Chanel box set revisits iconic scents

Exquisite precious materials, elegant bottles, timeless fragrances: Les Exclusifs de Chanel was created between 1922 and 2016 by renowned perfumers with close links to the French fashion and beauty house. Ernest Beaux, Jacques Polge, and Olivier Polge have come up with their own interpretation of a place, texture, meeting or symbol loved by Gabrielle Chanel. Together they form a unique collection, taking us on a perfumed journey through Chanel‘s history.

The collection consists of 15 4ml perfume bottles: 14 Eau de Parfum and one Eau de Cologne. An opportunity to (re)discover and appreciate a selection of rare fragrances which include hesperidium, woody, floral and oriental scents.

Bel Respiro, N°22, Misia

Fans of unusual perfumes and collectors will be pleased to discover that this set contains “Bel Respiro,” a floral evocation of spring, “Sycomore,” a woody scent based around vetiver, “Coromandel” with its incense, benzoin, and patchouli notes, the oriental scent “Cuir de Russie,” the aromatic-floral-powdery “Jersey,” and the woody and fruity “N°18”.

The set also includes “31 rue Cambon,” “28 La Pausa,” “N°22,” “1932,” “Gardénia,” “Beige,” “Bois des Iles,” “Eau de Cologne,” and “Misia,” a fragrance created by Olivier Polge.

This “Les Exclusifs de Chanel” set of 15 mini perfumes will go on sale on February 17 for€290, exclusively at Chanel Beauté stores and the brand’s e-shop.

French haute couture dresses: Schiaparelli inducted to fashion’s elite list with Chanel

Tiffany & Co. Masterpieces 2016 Prism pendant necklace in platinum with 
tsavorite garnets and diamonds

13 Birthstones: Benefits of precious gems and where to find them

Add text.

January
Chanel Fine Jewellery Les Éternelles de Chanel Signature Garnet secret watch in white gold with a 39.9-carat cushion-cut red garnet, yellow sapphires, orange sapphires, spessartite garnets, and diamonds.

Chanel Fine Jewellery Les Éternelles de Chanel Signature Garnet secret watch in white gold with a 39.9-carat cushion-cut red garnet, yellow sapphires, orange sapphires, spessartite garnets, and diamonds. It is a unique piece equipped with a quartz movement

Garnet

Signifying eternal friendship and trust, the name garnet is derived from the Latin word “granatum”, which refers to the red seeds of the pomegranate. Apart from the red varieties, which were among the most ancient of healing talismans, garnet also comes in other colour types, the key ones being the orange-yellow spessartite and the bright green tsavorite.

February
Bvlgari Magnificent Inspirations Extravaganza necklace

Bvlgari Magnificent Inspirations Extravaganza necklace in pink gold with 12 sassi-cut amethysts totalling 344.25 carats, South Sea cultured pearls, emeralds, 
amethysts, spinels, and diamonds

Amethyst

Historically coveted by European royalty by virtue of its intoxicating purple and rarity then, the ever-popular amethyst was also used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to keep the wearer sober, sharp, and restraint. In fact, its name derives from the Greek word “amethystos”, which means “not drunken”.

March
Tiffany & Co. Blue Book collection Water Colours three-strand necklace

Tiffany & Co. Blue Book collection Water Colours three-strand necklace in platinum with 
a 52.80-carat cushion-cut aquamarine, tanzanites, green tourmalines, aquamarines, 
and diamonds

Aquamarine

Named for the Latin phrase “water of the sea”, the ethereal aquamarine was believed by the ancients to be the treasure of the mermaids, and by sailors as a talisman for protection and safe passage over water. The gem was also used to dispel gossip, and imbue the owner with a sense of
calm and confidence.

April
Cartier Magicien Illumination bracelet in white gold with one 31.16-carat D-colour, internally flawless emerald-cut diamond

Cartier Magicien Illumination bracelet in white gold with one 31.16-carat D-colour, internally flawless emerald-cut diamond, other diamonds in various cuts, and carved rock crystal.
The main diamond can be worn on a ring or replaced by a pavé diamond motif

Diamond

Adopted from the Greek work “adamas”, meaning “invincible”, diamond is symbolic of eternal love and strength today. The gem was referenced in Sanskrit texts as early as 400BC, and since antiquity, believed by various cultures to possess powers that range from therapy and healing, energy-boosting, to imparting balance and clarity of thought.

May
Van Cleef & Arpels Émeraude en Majesté Grand Opus transformable necklace

Van Cleef & Arpels Émeraude en Majesté Grand Opus transformable necklace in white gold with three old-mine Colombian emeralds (two are shown here) totalling 127.88 carats, diamonds, and white cultured pearls

Emerald

Emerald was a holy gemstone for many early civilisations, including the Egyptians and South Americans, and also revered by ancient royalty spanning the Greeks to Indians. A symbol of renewal and growth, the gem is believed to grant the owner youth, vision, and wisdom. Its name was derived from the Greek word “smaragdus”, for green.

June
Chaumet La Nature de Chaumet Le Chêne Racines Célestes transformable necklace

Chaumet La Nature de Chaumet Le Chêne Racines Célestes transformable necklace in white gold with an oval-cut pink spinel, cultured freshwater pearls, spinels, pink sapphires, and diamonds. This is the short version of the original long necklace that has a total of seven pink and violet spinels weighing 10.94, 8.40, 6.81, 6.80, 6.53, 5.29, and 1.87 carats

Pearl

Probably the first gem discovered by mankind to be used for adornment, pearl boasts a long and interesting legacy of mythical importance in countless civilisations, including the Romans and Tudors. Its natural form, colour, and radiance endowed it with a celestial quality, and it has become symbolic of innocence, purity, and virtue in modern history.

July
Chopard Red Carpet collection High Jewellery Necklace

Chopard Red Carpet collection High Jewellery Necklace with 33 cushion-shaped rubies 
totalling 64.12 carats, diamonds, and rubies of various cuts

Ruby

Symbolising passion, vitality, and wealth, the blood-red ruby was so fascinating and visceral in appeal to historical nobility, from Kublai Khan to the Indian maharajahs, that their obsession with it was the stuff of legends. Named from the Latin word “ruber” for “red”, the legendary gem is one of the oldest associated with royalty, and remains sought-after to this day.

August
Chanel Fine Jewellery Les Blés de Chanel Brins de Printemps earrings

Chanel Fine Jewellery Les Blés de Chanel Brins de Printemps earrings in white gold with 
two marquise-cut peridots totalling 10.4 carats, other peridots, green tourmalines, aquamarines, and diamonds

Peridot

Called chrysolite in early writings, peridot was believed to wield powers against nightmares and the dark forces, and bring the wearer influence and success. Named from the Arabic word “faridat” for “gem”, it is the national gemstone of Egypt as it was first discovered nearly 4,000 years ago on an Egypt-owned island in the Red Sea, where stones were mined for the kings.

September
Cartier Magicien Incantation necklace

Cartier Magicien Incantation necklace in platinum with one 22.84-carat cushion-cut
Sri Lankan blue sapphire and diamonds. The necklace can be worn inverted along 
its radius and the sapphire may be fitted onto a ring

Sapphire

The sky blue colour of sapphire endowed it with a divine quality, and naturally, it became a royal gem for many cultures tracing back to the Middle Ages. Since then, it has been associated with numerous virtues that range from devotion and loyalty, to wisdom, justice, and prophecy. Its name has roots in Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit, meaning “blue stone”.

October
Louis Vuitton Blossom High Jewellery ring in white gold with a 2.9-carat indicolite tourmaline set onto a 5.05-carat petal-shaped opal along with diamonds

Louis Vuitton Blossom High Jewellery ring in white gold with a 2.9-carat indicolite tourmaline set onto a 5.05-carat petal-shaped opal along with diamonds

Opal

Referring to its play-of-colour property, opal’s name was derived from the Greek word “opallos”, which means “to see a change of colour”. Its stunning visual quality led it to become a talisman for strengthening both one’s eyesight and higher consciousness.

October
Boucheron 26 Vendôme Passementerie necklace in pink and white gold with one 2.02-carat oval cabochon pink tourmaline, five rubellites totalling 35.53 carats, spessartite garnets, multi-cut pink tourmalines, multi-colour sapphires, diamonds, and a rock crystal

Boucheron 26 Vendôme Passementerie necklace in pink and white gold with one 2.02-carat oval cabochon pink tourmaline, five rubellites totalling 35.53 carats, spessartite garnets, multi-cut pink tourmalines, multi-colour sapphires, diamonds, and a rock crystal

Tourmaline

Also a birthstone for October, tourmaline is historically associated with matters of the heart, and stands for humanitarian love and positivity. The gem’s name, born of the old Sinhalese word “turmali” for “mixed colours”, reflects its many attractive colour varieties.

November
Chanel Fine Jewellery Sous le Signe du Lion Solaire brooch in white gold with with a 123.5-carat carved yellow citrine, a 7.8-carat cushion-cut orange topaz, 
diamonds, and yellow sapphires

Chanel Fine Jewellery Sous le Signe du Lion Solaire brooch in white gold with
with a 123.5-carat carved yellow citrine, a 7.8-carat cushion-cut orange topaz, 
diamonds, and yellow sapphires

Topaz & Citrine

A gemstone with many colour varieties, topaz was prized in antiquity, with the opulent orangey-pink stone hailed as the imperial topaz by the Russian tsars. It is supposed to possess a warm and gentle solar energy, and helps to soothe, stimulate, and recharge the owner. Because the yellow-orange topaz was historically thought to be the same as citrine, the latter has also come to be known as November’s birthstone too. Regarded as the “healing quartz”, it is believed to have a healthful, encouraging influence.

December
Bulgari Magnificent Inspirations Fiore ingenuo High Jewellery necklace in white gold 
with carved turquoise inserts, one 9.39-carat trillion-cut tanzanite, diamonds, 
moonstones, and blue sapphires

Bulgari Magnificent Inspirations Fiore ingenuo High Jewellery necklace in white gold 
with carved turquoise inserts, one 9.39-carat trillion-cut tanzanite, diamonds, 
moonstones, and blue sapphires

Turquoise

Another gem that pre-dates written history is turquoise, which was revered as an ornamental and ceremonial stone, especially in ancient Persian, Egyptian, and American civilisations. Its name came from the French expression “pierre tourques”, meaning “Turkish stone”, as it was first traded from Persia through Turkey to Europe in the 17th century.

Text by Yanni Tan

This article was first published in WOW.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Chanel’s Metiers d’Art show 2016 stars Cara Delevingne and Pharrell Williams

For 13 years Salzbourg, Rome, Dallas and Edinburg, have served as the enviable locations to celebrate Chanel’s annual Metiers d’Art show. This year, the label picked Paris, a fashion capital and home to the brand’s founder.

Last Tuesday, the Ritz Paris was transformed into an extravagant theatre from the 1930s, that was the stage of Chanel’s annual show. The French label indeed decided to pay homage to its founder Coco Chanel – in a joyful, festive way. Why that specific venue? “The Ritz is very Paris, but men and women from all over the world come here, so it is a temple of cosmopolitan elegance,” declared Karl Lagerfeld. But there is more to the story.

Coco Chanel herself has lived a large part of her life in one of the majestic hotel’s suites – bringing in an air of scandal, when she was sharing her bet with a German intelligence Officer, during WWII.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Focusing on a lighter, more insouciant part of Coco Chanel’s life, Karl Lagerfeld revived the 1930s glamour to perfection. As a perfect tribute to Chanel’s style and spirit, Pillbox hats with netted veils, long woolly jumpers and glittery tweed suits reigned on the catwalk — mixing aristocracy and glamour in the finest way. Contrasting with the usual austere runway faces, Chanel’s models were facetious and smiling.

Chanel invited some of its most famous models, including Lily-rose and Cara Delevingne on the runway — Both of whom embraced the glorious Chanel spirit.

Chanel Métiers d'Art runway show

Pharrell Williams at Chanel’s Métiers d’Art runway show

Pharrell Williams also took the catwalk, wearing a navy tweed jacket and strings of pearls. Levi Dylan, grandson of a recent surprise Nobel laureate and up-and-coming model Sofia Richie were also part of the stunning cast. With all the plumes and camellias adorning the heads, The Ritz Paris, looked like a flashback from the 1930s in all its decadent glory. 

Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Chanel J12 XS: Tough Chick

The first watch designed by Chanel with a masculine touch goes through a complete makeover and is now smaller, girlier and the most desirable it has ever been. This story is from the perspective of our friends at L’Officiel Singapore; we have previously adopted the WOW Singapore review of the same watch.

The year 2003 was no ordinary one for Chanel. It finally made its debut at BaselWorld (the industry’s biggest watch fair where top manufacturers gather annually in Switzerland to show off their latest horological feats), 16 years after the Parisian house unveiled its first timepiece, the Première. But the year was also a dismal one for the people of the world who were fiercely battling the Sars epidemic. “In fact, China realized that it had many more cases than what was officially announced,” Chanel’s International Watch Director Nicolas Beau recalls. “It was two days before the show and a lot of Chinese would be coming in. Everybody panicked. Some even wanted to go home.”

Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Black high-tech ceramic and 18k white gold with baguette-cut diamonds, black onyw, matte leather and patent calfskin

But when BaselWorld concluded that year, people weren’t talking about Sars as much as Chanel’s J12, which was presented at the fair in a new white high-tech ceramic version (trumping the reception of its black predecessor launched back in 2000). “Suddenly we realized how powerful this creation was,” Beau adds. “The J12 introduced a new color and a new spirit to quite a traditional-looking watch. And because it’s a traditional-looking watch, it would be boring if we made it in steel. Ours in ceramic told people something different.”

The J12, which was Chanel’s first automatic timepiece, is a fascinating work of art. Seven years of research and development contribute to the allure of the watch, most of which lies within its high-tech ceramic case. Made entirely from scratch at the brand’s G&F Chatelain Manufacture in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the material is lighter and hardier than gold and steel, resistant to thermal and chemical shocks, and very comfortable to wear, absorbing and maintaining the skin’s temperature when worn. “We have discovered many new things since we started making ceramics in 2000,” Beau reveals. “We can even incorporate the material into mechanical movements now.”

That isn’t the only novelty. The J12 was also the first timepiece which Chanel designed with a surprising yet compellingly masculine approach. The house’s late artistic director Jacques Helleu had these goals in mind for the watch: it had to look timeless, be indestructible and remind him of “masterpieces in the world of automobiles”. As Beau points out: “We created a strong full-black watch with the original J12 and then followed up with an even stronger J12 in white. Today, both have become very key colors in the watch market.”

In October, Chanel gave the J12 its most exciting update yet (leading to both this and the previously published piece). Named the Chanel J12 XS, the new petite 19mm model is still beguiling with a case in either black or white high-tech ceramic, but it now exudes vibes that are way more girly than macho. There are four permanent boutique styles: the first two have slim patent calfskin straps that are worn over larger matte calfskin cuffs. The third is attached onto a pair of supple lambskin gloves, while the fourth features a patent calfskin cuff in multiple rows that’s quite rock ‘n’ roll.

Chanel J12 watch Baselworld

Black high-tech ceramic and steel with patent calfskin, lambskin and diamonds

The making of the J12 XS also involved France’s most brilliant craftsmen such as glove makers from the House of Causse and couture embroiderers from Maison Lesage (the latter is behind the most artistic dials of Chanel’s Mademoiselle Privé timepiece range). To make the new model even more desirable, there are also six sequinned styles which are hand-embroidered by Maison Lesage to resemble the natural patterns found on exotic python, alligator and shark leather.

For those with more exquisite taste, there are also four unique and extremely wearable high jewelry models. One comes with a large solid cuff (they are unlike the boutique-exclusive Chanel J12 XS watch cuffs, which are supple) while two come with smaller, solid cuffs. All three are decorated with diamond-set white gold trims. Finally, there is a cheeky time-telling ring that is set with 24 baguette-cut diamonds around a white gold flange.

“The J12 introduced a new colour and a new spirit to quite a traditional-looking watch. And because it’s a traditional-looking watch, it would be boring if we made it in steel. Ours in ceramic told people something different.” declared Nicolas Beau, Chanel’s international watch director.

This story was first published in l‘Officiel Singapore

Chanel, Caroline de Maigret Launch CdMDiary Site

Chanel, Caroline de Maigret Launch CdMDiary Site

Caroline de Maigret can add another title to her impressive portfolio with the CdMDiary website. Apart from being a producer and model, she will now the person behind the new Chanel lifestyle portal; while it is not explicitly stated, you can guess the CdM in CdMDiary stands for Caroline de Maigret. The model and the brand share a long history with each other. Back in 1998, de Maigret walked the ramp for Karl Lagerfeld during his presentation of the spring/summer ready-to-wear collection.

Since then, she has seen herself not only model for the brand but also become its spokesperson and most recently its ambassador. As the narrator of the lifestyle portal, de Maigret will share her journey and passion, which is linked to the French fashion house. Her focus, on fashion and art, will be split into six sections.

“N°1” will be on of the sections that focus on essential pieces, womenswear must-haves and tips on how to wear them. “Dressing Talks,” explores various celebrity wardrobes, and “Backstage,” offers a glimpse behind the scenes at catwalk shows and major events. Like its narrator — a multifaceted character, passionate about music, books and photography — the site doesn’t just focus on fashion. The “Crushes” section features Caroline de Maigret’s current cultural highlights, “Best places” lists her favorite haunts and “Music Itw” sees special guests share the songs and music that shaped their lives.

“I am extremely proud to have been chosen by Chanel because I love the Chanel woman and what she represents. I love how Gabrielle Chanel was involved in the arts, in literature, in painting.” explains Caroline de Maigret. She added that “When Chanel asked me to be a spokesperson for the brand, we thought about means of communication to decide how I was going to express myself and talk about the fashion house. Straight away, we thought about creating a lifestyle platform,”

3 Hottest Prints Trends: Spring/Summer 2017

Prints dominated the Spring/Summer 2017 collections and this trend is set to be big for the upcoming season. Ranging from retro to masculine, pop art and even minimalist chic, we take a look at three of the hottest print trends this season.

Retro ChicRetro prints have a 1970s vibe at Chloé. © BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

From Isabel Marant to Chloé (main picture), Dries Van Noten, Michael Kors and even Prada, the retro vibe was out in in full force. Embracing the 70s effect, designers featured prints in the form of large flowers, big bright blooms as well as diamond and check prints. Shown in head to toe looks, the retro prints are set to make a comeback — talk about a blast from the past.

Geometric Prints000_dv2232740-f2a01145433-h0

Lanvin, Paul Ka, Chanel, Fendi (above) and Nina Ricci are keeping last season’s trend of stripes. Inpinstripes, widebands, horizontal and vertical, the pattern was seen on oversized shorts, dresses, overcoats, pants and coats. Another geometric print seen, was polka dots. In classic shades, the pattern was seen in collections for the likes of Dior. Patchwork also made a comeback on the runways with designers such as Marc Jacobs. Sporting bohemian and romantic discreet form of patchworking along with a 1990s version, the pattern proved to still be a hit after more than one season. Ellie Saab, on the other hand, went big on stars, embroidered or printed all over sumptuous dresses for an out-of-this-world look.

Messages Galore000_dv2232432-41b6e150412-h0

Printed letters, numbers, logos, large motifs, quotes and slogans land as wearable messages this season as seen on Gucci (above). While Dolce & Gabbana is clearly a master of the genre, it isn’t the only label playing the game. The current craze for streetwear is buoying the trend, with potential buyers passing all kinds of messages from designers to the public at large. It’s a trend that’s fun, practical and light-hearted, and very much in line with the spirit of the season.

Designer Christmas Trees To Be Auctioned For Charity

The biggest names in fashion, art and design will design 30 Christmas trees to go under the hammer later this month. The ‘Designer Christmas Trees’ charity auction is set to for November 21 at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, France, in what happens to be the 21st edition.

All proceeds from the holiday auction will be donated to fund cancer research, under the patronage of Professor Khayat, oncologist, President and founder of the Paris Charter Against Cancer (Charte de Paris contre le cancer). The festive auction event was founded by fashion journalist and producer Marie-Christiane Marek, who still leads the organization of the event. ‘Designer Christmas Trees’ celebrates creativity, design, and high-end expertise – all for a good cause.

This year’s event theme is ‘Gold and Light’. Designers from notable fashion houses and labels will be creating their own unique Christmas trees, based on their personal take on the theme. For the first time, the designers will be invited to also create gifts to place under the tree. Event attendees will be able to take pictures with each designer’s Christmas tree, as well as sculptures, photo prints and works of art.

Chanel, Dior, Chantal Thomass, Christian Lacroix, Elie Saab, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Jean Paul Gaultier, Lancel, Prada, Ungaro, Stella McCartney, Francis Kurkdjian, Christian Ghion, Jean-Jacques Ory, Olivia Putman, Rachid Khimoune and Marlène Mocquet are among the artists and designers signed up to take part in the 2016 event.

This 21st edition of “Designer Christmas Trees” includes three main events. First, the switching-on of the Christmas lights in Paris’ Avenue Montaigne, November 18. Next, the unique Christmas trees will go on public display, November 19 and 20, at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, ahead of the gala evening and auction (by invitation only), November 21, also at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées.

Caroline de Maigret Models Chanel ‘Derby’ Shoe

The French model, Caroline de Maigret, can be seen sporting the new two-tone shoes in a black-and-white short film directed by Bertrand le Pluard for the luxury fashion house. The clip, which De Maigret has posted to her Instagram account, sees her skipping around the streets of her hometown of Paris, having teamed the tomboy-style shoes with rolled-up masculine trousers and a fine knit sweater.

The androgynous footwear, part of the label’s 2016/17 cruise collection, feature a various smooth, patent, exotic and even perforated leather uppers, topped off with a black leather toe — a reference to the brand’s founder Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s first shoe designs in 1957. Natural leather soles resemble wood, while the label’s signature double C logo appears in metal on each heel. The bright, bold uppers, which range from pink and silver to gold, black and white, were inspired by the Cuban city of Havana.

The Chanel 'Derby' Shoe

The Chanel ‘Derby’ Shoe

Model, writer and music producer De Maigret became an official Chanel ambassador back in July, following a long friendship with the brand’s designer Karl Lagerfeld which had seen her act as a muse for the house for several years. Her new role in the group, which has placed her on the same level as the house’s fellow ambassadors Lily Rose Depp, Kristen Stewart and Willow Smith, is one of several recent high-profile fashion projects — she was unveiled as one of the faces of British brand Karen Millen’s spring campaign back in January, and teamed up with cosmetics giant Lancome on a “Parisian Inspiration by Caroline de Maigret” collection in the autumn of 2015.

Creating Fashion that Sells Isn’t a Sin

What is the point of high fashion these days? Is there a reason that designers still get to sit on their high horses when the most talked about brand these days is Vetements, with all its nonstop talk about “clothing people actually wear”? It’s really an issue of the industry failing to catch up with the times, which is strangely ironic considering that fashion is supposed to represent and extol the times it lives in.

In the aughts of haute couture, and really since before the time of Charles Frederick Worth (considered the progenitor of high fashion) and Marie Antoinette, what fashion represented in the zeitgeist and times was desire. Plain and simple, it was about elevating and making clothing so beautiful, flattering, and jealousy-inducing that it was a means to a social end. Fashion is so strikingly bourgeois and hierarchical today precisely because it has, for so many years, represented a certain degree of sophistication and, indeed, wealth.

Selling isn't a sin: Chanel

Chanel

So what is high fashion for today, if Chanel is no longer haughtily pronouncing items of clothing démodé and instead, planting emojis onto accessories and clothing? If a brand as vaunted and intellectual as Prada is selling bags straight off the runway, can it still maintain a cachet of luxury and intelligence without the stink of shilling products (perhaps by making customers wait for the rest of its seasonal fashion direction)?

Selling isn't a sin: Balenciaga

Balenciaga

I posit that high fashion today is returning to its core, plain and simple, all over again. It is about beautiful clothing, wonderful things people feel an urge to wear, and representing the cultural values of the times. It is why Balenciaga under Demna Gvasalia feels so… right. With its post-modern melding of old-world techniques and new-age street-wise tricks, it has been vaulted right back into the fashion consciousness – and it is worth paying attention to again. With the advertising and PR money of fashion, it sometimes becomes difficult to differentiate what’s worth the time and what’s paid for. The purest reaction, then, is clothing that can convince customers to part with money to put on their back.

Selling isn't a sin: Vetements

Vetements

The ’90s were all at once the best and worst time for intellectual fashion, but that’s gone down the drain now. Conglomeration of brands and companies meant that fashion as an art and a means to an end was becoming monetized. Think of LVMH, Kering and Prada group’s expansions at the time.

Today, LVMH’s brands are represented in a good half of all fashion magazines’ front bumper of ads. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Céline, Loewe, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi – even jewelry and watch brands such as Bulgari, Chaumet, Hublot, TAG Heuer, etc. Kering rounds it up with Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, etc. Where did the mavericks like Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela go?

In an environment where people simply demanded more and more clothing, it became hard for such intellectually-driven and conceptual designers to continue – never mind that the clothes they designed and created were eminently wearable and beautiful. But it was tricky, because the old shows from Prada, for instance, were such subtle exercises in decryption. Meaning was layered and veiled, and it took a trained eye and mind to pick apart what exactly Mrs Prada was saying each season. Today, a collection like its FW16 vagabond girls-on-the-run one is, while beautiful, almost obvious to interpret. In recent seasons too: fast cars and sweaty glamour, stiff Stepford wives’ tailoring, duney desert travellers. They make big political and cultural statements, but they’re plain to see.

Selling isn't a sin: Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent

Therein lies the problem. When fashion becomes grounds for intellectual concepts, customers get frustrated. It was famously hard for people to grasp Craig Green’s debut SS15 collection with flowing judoka quilts and banners bound to the models. But it struck a chord with the industry collective viewing the show – inspiring some tears, even. Here was a collection set against an Enya soundtrack, resplendent in creative liberty and in the luxury of time it took to craft. It was beautiful and it sold. Next season, he did a similar thing – line and silhouette were only slightly different, but there was a complete reversal in the reaction of the press. Lambasts of similarity and repetition abounded, and it became clear that the industry was on the same page as its readers’ attention spans. Never mind giving designers time to develop an idea and letting it stew, mutate, evolve and be felt out. We wanted more and more of the new.

Selling isn't a sin: Prada

Prada

So where is intellectual fashion’s place in today’s fast-paced commercial churning environment? It is a conundrum that is hard to solve. Perhaps that is why Vetements is so successful – because it makes you feel like you’re thinking and being smart about things while contributing no effort at all. Perhaps it is why Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent was such a runaway commercial success – because you didn’t have to think while wearing his clothes, you just had to partake in his vacuous vein of L.A. grungy cool. Perhaps it is why Phoebe Philo’s Céline is so influential – women don’t have to think about what they’re representing to the world because Philo’s clothing whispers refinement for them. Perhaps it is why Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is so refreshing – they’re simply fun to wear (the same, season after season) and don’t offer much by way of a political or cultural message.

I am not against any of this.

Selling isn't a sin: Jacquemus

Jacquemus

On the contrary, it is the way fashion is today, and to whine about time gone by is to be astoundingly near-sighted – rather, rear-sighted. Karl Lagerfeld has been so good for Chanel exactly because he takes to the times he lives in like a cultural sponge. There’s a respect to the historical foundations of the brand, but even more surely a perspective of today.

Selling isn't a sin: Gucci

Gucci

What I’m saying is that “commercial” isn’t necessarily a bad word. We’ve been wary of the financial beast for long enough; it’s time to be smart about it and synthesize what we know with what we want. There’s a reason designers such as Christian Lacroix went out of business despite his reign in the ’80s and ’90s in Paris: extravagance and bonanza dresses stopped becoming relevant. After sobering financial crashes, actual plane crashes and a global worldview of uncertainty, the dream was over.

Selling isn't a sin: Dries Van Nolen

Dries Van Nolen

Today, the new dream is perhaps clothes that slide right into daily life. A note: I’m not saying poorly designed and poorly made clothes with nary a thought or smarts should get a pass for being easy to buy and wear. I’m talking about fashion that has a contextual place in contemporary culture and represents a designer’s point of view. Ultimately, that’s the place of fashion: on our backs.

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Chanel Classic Flap Bag: Immortalizing Pop Culture

If there’s anything we can’t buy, it’s time. Thank goodness for online shopping, same-day delivery, concierge services and 7-Eleven, but it’s been a while since those godsends were created. Today’s innovators, who recognize the potential of efficiency and time savings that technology promises, are constantly outdoing themselves to satiate our boredom and laziness – through entertainment.

Look at the lingua franca du jour – emoji – and how thoroughly entertaining that is!

Take, for instance, Emoji Dick, a full translation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick into emoji. It is the full utilization of concentrated intelligence at its most redundant — but hey, at least it is fun. After all, doesn’t fun reign supreme in this era of hyper-consumerism?

While the probability of sustaining an actual conversation entirely in emoji is close to 0%, and the risk of messages being lost in translation is very high, it is still amusing. In fact, the guessing game adds to its allure. If a peach emoji is equivalent to buttocks, you can assume what an eggplant means! Emoji, being the semiotic marvel that it is, would have made a tough intellectual exercise even for Baudrillard, Saussure or Barthes. But somehow, we can navigate an entire row of random symbols.

But this seemingly trivial pursuit of sign language, as it were, has deeper cultural significance, and what better example to illustrate this point than Kim Kardashian and her peculiar world of Kimoji? As overexposed as she is, this woman is the epitomic product of the zeitgeist. Thanks to her reality TV show, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, we even know what event prompted a now-immortal face of a crying Kim. (We’re still miffed that Kimoji doesn’t work like it should on WhatsApp.)

So. What has all this got to do with fashion? Like an emoji, a recognizable silhouette speaks of universality. While your mum may not understand the significance of a donut and banana emoji put together, she’ll know a Chanel bag when she sees one. There’s no doubt that Chanel is part of pop culture. Surprisingly, it was underplayed this season. Even the show’s set design – usually an elaborate affair like Chanel Airlines from Spring 2016, the casino set for Fall 2015 couture and the epic supermarket from Fall 2014 – was understated. Interestingly, the absence of a showstopping set reinforced the power of the brand; the collection didn’t feel gimmicky at all.

The essence of this symbolization is distilled in this season’s flap bag, which is heavily adorned with brand-specific emoji: Choupette, Chanel creative director, Karl Lagerfeld’s cat; the Camelia, the house’s signature flower; and the Chanel logo’s interlocking C’s. These are intermingled with standard emoji, including the thumbs-up icon, the peace sign and the four-leaf clover. It is a beautiful mix. Few houses are able to parade the iconography of pop culture so efficiently and effectively.

What Chanel has done is virtually instant art. It is funny how an object becomes art in much less time when you take something that’s already manufactured and then give it new perspective. That’s what Marcel Duchamp recogniszed with his readymades. He took a urinal, tilted it to the right and confined it to a glass box. Bam! Art! And that’s really what embracing post-modernism is about: we’re living in an age of recycling the past and glorifying the now.

It is true, you can’t buy time, but you can buy a Chanel bag.

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore