Monday, January 22, 2007

Chanel's Everlasting Allure

Last January 21st marked the 36th years of passing of world's most celebrated fashion designer and a woman who revolutionized the way modern women dress today, and she is no other than Mademoiselle Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel.

Though she is no longer with us, her legacy keeps her spirit alive in the form of Chanel, one of the world's best-seling designer label. It was Chanel who introduces tweed, a material of Scottish origin which once only worn by men, to as something that every woman must wear and have in their wardrobe; and it was the Mademoiselle who gave menswear a tamer and feminine look.

In short, the fashion world has a lot to thank this designer for the fashion revolution that she brought. Though her fashion house went through a gloomy day after her death, thanks to the creative mind of German-born Karl Lagerfeld who took over the role as the house's creative director in 1983, Chanel began to shine brightly again as one of the best fashion house ever founded in France.

Chanel's history in Malaysia can be traced back 20 years ago. Chanel clothes and its quilted bags are de rigeur among Mak Datins and local socialites as a symbol of high status and good taste in finer things. Back then Chanel products available in Malaysia are scarce and only limited to skincare, fragrances and make-up.

To get one's hands on its ready-to-wear collection, the nearest Chanel store is either in Singapore at Ngee Ann City or if you dare for a 12-hour exhausting journey on flight, a trip to the fashion capital itself, Paris will do. In 2000, Chanel opened its maiden Malaysia boutique at the must-shop Suria KLCC. The boutique, which carries complete ready-to-wear and accessories was a huge hit among local and foreign shoppers, especially Japanese and Korean tourists.

Seven years passed and the filthy rich Malaysians are nonstop thronging the one and only Chanel store in Malaysia to purchase its RM70 000.00 tweed suit or the quilted handbags that starts from RM5000.00 and above. Why do they keep coming back? Well, Chanel's evergreen look says it all. Theer's nothing more evergreen than a tweed suit matched with a Camelia brooch. Even though it came from the last three Springs, it may still look fresh on you in the next 20 years.

For the upcoming Spring/Summer 2007 collection, Lagerfeld implemented two major elements - Tweed and Chanel's favourite hues of black and white - into the entire collection. Expect swimsuits and dresses in white, black or combination of both colors. There's also a female tuxedo inspired by Lagerfeld's staple, which is the black-and-white tuxedo that is. My all-time favorite is the houndstooth tweed suit.

Breton sailor meets Coco Chanel is the theme for the Men's collection. Model Brad Koenig was spotted on the runway wearing a grey cardigan akin to the one late Chanel wore in her old photographs, matched with a black belt that bears the intelocking Cs logo on its buckle.

Making grand comeback for the season is the vests. What used to be the staple of the 90's is now a must-have for next season. Apply it over a working shirt or just on a plain tee and just feel the difference.

Chanel Spring/Summer 2007 collection is available now at Chanel boutique, exclusively located at Suria KLCC.

*Photos courtesy of Chanel and Marcio Madeira/

Chanel - Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.

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