^ I think they have a selection of product samples- make up, different perfumes, some literature and brochures, a couple of pins, maybe a scarf or something like that- cool stuff...
I would die to get my hands on one of those. I volunteer a lot for fashion shows and sometimes they give away swag bags to a few volunteers after the show is over. Having been one of the lucky recipients of those bags, I can say that what I received was probably nothing close to the goodies in those CHANEL bags.
Maximum volume yields maximum results.
“We’ve had Paris-London, we’ve had Paris-Shanghai, so it felt like time to go off the circuit, to somewhere less expected,” said Karl Lagerfeld after Tuesday’s Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show, entitled Paris-Bombay. “And Coco [Chanel] loved Indian jewelry. But it’s not a cheap tourist tour of India! It was sophisticated, no?” Indeed it was Karl. How could it not be? This is Chanel’s annual love letter to all of the incredible and venerable ateliers whose work allows for this Métiers d’Art collection (exquisitely worked prêt-à-porter with rarified price tags to match, and which delivers to stores around the same time as pre-fall) and the haute couture to exist; the house’s patrimony of time-honored French craftsmanship preserves it for generations to come at a time when fashion is being ever more outsourced to be made all over the globe. At Chanel’s disposal, the combined force of the likes of Lesage (the embroidery house headed until a very short while ago by the recently passed 82-year-old François Lesage), buttons and jewelry by Desrues, metalwork by Goossens, flowers of lace, silk, and velvet by Guillet, and the newest addition to the stable, announced only yesterday, Montex, another storied Parisian embroiderer.
Of course, Lagerfeld’s sources of inspiration were no slouches in the extravagance stakes; India’s Maharajas lived—and embroidered and jeweled and adorned themselves—like gods, so, scattered throughout the collection like rubies and emeralds across the floors of the Mysore Palace were appropriately rich flourishes like multiple strands of pearls placed over the hips of a bouclé suit, a liquid-gold lamé dress with sari-like draping, and a monumental necklace of chains and pearls, and—a recurring look here—a lavish Nehru collared coat or pointed hem dress, say, worn over leggings or boots that resembled leggings, so long they stretched all the way to the top of the thighs. And what Maharani—or these days, a titan of Indian industry like Megha Mittal, or the gorgeous young movie star Freida Pinto, who came to the show—wouldn’t want the gem of a new Chanel bag, a modestly scaled quilted purse suspended from a fabulous and not-so-discreet bead-encrusted (courtesy of Lesage) guitar strap. That, like the ratty dreadlocked hair, was a neat and witty reference to the other riches of India, its position of countercultural lifestyle, from the era of the Beatles and their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, to today’s nouveau-hippie enclave of Goa.
In the end, what made this collection so intriguing wasn’t an idea of India’s past, but its future. Despite the Raj–worthy backdrop created in the cavernous chamber of the Galerie Courbe in the Grand Palais, complete with an eye-popping table laid for a feast and Mughal–carved stone walls, Lagerfeld’s vision of the country (which he has never been to, incidentally; perhaps he sides with the idea that you can see a place more clearly when you look at it from afar) captured its sense of modern urbanity, honing in on the likes of Mumbai’s place in the unfolding power-landscape of the twenty-first-century world. There were great coats—in fur-edged bouclé, or tone-on-tone embroidered gray wool—worn with velvet or brocade pants, flats, and those bags slung casually and nonchalantly across the body. They hinted—without being heavy-handed with the starting point of the collection—to a notion of a country with an unbelievably cultured and sophisticated past rushing headlong into the future. Lagerfeld amplified that idea by eschewing the cliché of an Indian color palette, drawing instead on black, rust, cream, and gray. And save for a few great pink chunky sweaters, there was very little of India’s national color, which Diana Vreeland managed to work into a cute little aphorism decades ago. So, Karl, if pink is the navy blue of India, what’s the navy blue of Chanel? He thought for a nanosecond. “Black. No. Black and ivory.”