Chanel for some purveyors of fashion can be a loaded six-letter word. Equally lauded and loathed, that double C mirrored emblem like it or leave it has stood the test of time. Chanel was founded in 1910 as a fashion house, one hundred and ten this year. Today let’s delve into the pretty and some not so pretty things of Chanel’s past. Label junkies be damned, one can still appreciate a fine fashion house that has had a ripple effect on the way women dress for over one hundred years. Whether you wear Chanel or not, the tailoring, textiles, and prints of their garments have been reproduced so many times (both faux and inspired by others) that most people forget that Chanel truly did do a lot of things first.
Modern-day Chanel does not have quite the same appeal due to the passing of Karl Lagerfeld in 2019. The brand has lost its footing and overall direction, it’s clearly still trying to pick of the pieces of fabric that Karl left behind while also working through a pandemic. Lagerfeld was excellent at his craft, despite being incredibly insensitive and saying some pretty horrific things in the media about women, tattoos, and men. His skill set however was one thing no-one could question in the world of fashion. For the most part, which is what we will cover today.
The Worst Of The Runway
I don’t know about you but I always prefer to get the bad news first. Let’s run through the worst of the Spring 1994 Chanel Runway show with notes on each travesty that was passed across as appropriate attire for the times. Luxury labels do not always get it right, in fact, they often make just as many mistakes as a rookie designer does. Scroll below to see further proof of these far-reaching looks that totally missed the mark.
The clear distinction between this all-white ghostly mime number and the actual ceramic mime heads sold in the ’80s is horrific. This look could easily be the villain in the next Bloomhouse Productions meaningless horror movie franchise.
From a ghostly ceramic mime to Crusty the clown. This collection continues to default into a tyranny of ’90s runway trash. Oversized pieces are one way to make a statement but oversized everything is too much.
Such a pretty face in such terrible clothing. These wide-leg wool pants do nothing for the female form. Unless, of course, you want to hide your shape from possible intruders. When the ribbon is the only thing worth wearing in a look… you finish this sentance.
Clown suits, more clown suits leave much to be desired. Not only are they wide-leg wool pants, but they are also pleated. Too much of everything happening all at one time yet again.
Models are not paid to talk but they certainly are paid to express emotions through their looks. The model in this rollerblading accident’s body language says it all, “What the hell am I wearing? I don’t even know”.
Trying far too hard to copy/paste grunge style and make it over-priced and mainstream happens here. Yet, anyone who was into the grunge era would remember that $1000 sock garters were never part of that trend. Grunge was all about music and how music influenced your personal style, not Chanel.
If you ever wondered if Cindy Crawford could ever look terrible… this look should answer that question. Again, a wide-leg pant can be a fashion statement but not when it’s paired with suspenders, a bikini top, and a knit cardigan.
A very young Kate Moss in a pastel puke two-piece combo. Wide-leg, wool and pleats galore.
There was also a tragic black face print only worn by the black models on the runway. Culturally, this says a lot about where Karl’s head was at in this time period. I’m not sure what is more offensive, the lace paired with the black face print or just the black face print alone?
The black models wear the black face print. That can be a trend right?
In an effort to be inclusive the print also came in white face, also worn by only the white models. Claudia Shiffer has never looked more of a mess than this image. A human face has never been a good idea for a print. We see enough of ourselves every day, putting our likeness on textile prints we wear just becomes redundant instead of revolutionary.
Helena Christensen in the white face print swimwear addition. While the cut of this suit fits impeccably the print takes you out of its perfect fit on the body.
The Best In Show
Luckily there was more good than bad in this collection. All of these looks in the best of the show can be worn today and look current. That is the point of being a fashion designer, to create timeless pieces that can be worn for a lifetime. This is what justifies a higher-end price tag, longevity.
Pearl lined sunglasses and a sleek black and white color scheme. The ribbon closure on this 3/4 length jacket means what you wear underneath is meant to be shown off.
From the office to the beach? Switch out the shorts for a longer skirt or pants and your business woman approved. Keep the shorts in your bag to go for happy hour post work. Why not? This is a yellow tweed fantasy.
Tweed booty shorts? Why the hell not! This screams Miami Boardwalk daytime chic. Time and place people, that’s what makes certain looks wearable in the right setting. Would you wear a bathing suit at the mall? Then don’t wear this outfit to the boardroom and save it for a trip to the beach that turns into day drinking instead.
A lavender pastel two-piece set with an extreme slit is still hard to find to this day. This is a rare vintage piece that remains cutting edge.
Ultra femme, this simple white spaghetti strap mini-dress paired with an underbust corset is for a flirty mood. It’s versatile enough to wear alone or with layers on top or underneath.
A tangerine dream, making tweed less up-tight. Minus the bird’s nest-like hat of course. It is painfully clear that accessories were not this collections strong suit.
A pale blue hue for a three-piece suit. The tweed bikini top meets the underbust corset at the perfect height to create some drama. It doesn’t scream “boobs!” it says “sophisticated and sexy” instead.
You don’t see a lot of yellow in collections these days. For Spring, a yellow statement piece is a great way to embrace sunnier weather. The embroidery of this two-piece set is as tight as a spool of thread.
If you ever wondered where the movie Clueless (1995) got its costume design inspiration from look no further. These three pieces exemplify all the trends that the movie started and that still get re-birthed in the present day.
You can look just as good as Chanel without the hefty price tag or negative stigmas Karl Lagerfeld left behind as a legacy. It’s all up to your own personal style and tailoring. A hack if you are a vintage junkie is to buy the slightly over-sized suit sets and get them tailored to your exact size. Let your inner ’90s Supermodel shine with a perfect fit for your body type.
About Me: My name is Tiffini Truth and I’m a Metal Artist living in Montreal. I adore writing. Specifically about life, style, and culture. I also host the “People Suck Podcast”.
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