Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Marie Antoinette and the Chanel Ready-to-Wear Collection for Spring 2010

John Galliano was not the only designer to be inspired by France's Fashion Queen this season. Karl Lagerfeld also took inspiration from Marie Antoinette's love for the simple life in creating an airy and whimsical collection for Chanel Spring 2010 Ready-to-Wear Collection. A version of Marie Antoinette's barnyard was constructed in the Grand Palais in Paris to present the collection.

Marie Antoinette adored flowers and when her husband Louis XVI acceded to the throne in 1774, he gave her the Petit Trianon. He is said to have told her "You are fond of flowers, so I give you this whole bouquet." She undertook the renovation of this sanctuary and a few years later created a hamlet nearby which included a farmhouse, a barn and a dairy among other buildings. She insisted on real animals to show her children and watched as the cows were milked and strawberries were picked. The milkmaid look (caraco a la polonaise) was popular around 1778-1779. 

It is this affinity for flowers and fabrics that appear homespun that I see in Karl Lagerfeld's designs for Chanel Spring 2010 Ready to Wear. Several of the models carry basket-like hand bags almost as if they'll be stepping off the stage to venture in the henhouse to collect eggs! 

Truthfully I thought it was a bit of a stretch to find the Marie Antoinette in this collection. But it was nice to see a lighter palette of colours in Chanel ready-to-wear.