Chanel 'Paris-Byzance' Pre-Fall 2011

 In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel launched a collection of costume jewellery inspired primarily by the lavish glamour and rich history of Istanbul. Now, in 2010, Karl Lagerfeld has dug through the archives and has gently reminisced on the famous designer’s pieces, while adding to the mix his own inspiration taken from Turkish craftsmanship - welcome to the ‘Paris-Byzance’ Pre-Fall 2011 collection.

With rich metallic flecked embroidery, opulent jewellery embellishments and a seamless mix of textures (from heavy wool to light gold lamé).  Rich colours such as deep violet, dark green and a coffee brown, each decedent ensemble is artfully composed - from draped, layered one-shoulder dresses, to deconstructed striped trousers paired with burgundy chunky knits. Almost every outfit had some element of rich embellishment - infused with beads and jewels.

Featuring majestic cloaks to ball gowns, and even casual sweaters, the collection was an unrivalled marvel, showing 67 outfits in total for both menswear and womenswear.  As Karl Lagerfeld, the house’s creative director, described his idea behind the jaw-dropping collection ( he Empress Theodora and the lost culture of Byzantium) it was clear that the theme was wholly inspiring for the design mogul:

"Theodora was a circus artist who became empress, like Chanel, who was a little singer and became a fashion empress."

While Lagerfeld is a man all about moving into the future, Chanel is unique thanks to it’s rich history, one of the few fashion houses that can still dip into the deep archives to find bountiful inspiration - and that’s what makes this particularly special - reeling in the splendid past of fashion design, and bring it new life that can still excite.

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