May 31, 2005

Chanel surfing

Rose and I actually had a simultaneous day off for once, so we went to the Met and checked out a few exhibits -- Diane Arbus, Coco Chanel, Max Ernst. In particular, I would like to talk about the Coco Chanel exhibit, or, as I came to call it, "Spot the Lagerfeld".

It seemed logical that an exhibit purporting to be a Coco Chanel retrospective would focus on her designs. Instead, it was more of a "House of Chanel" exhibit that featured Karl Lagerfeld designs alongside the Chanel designs they were riffing on. And I would say that, of the Lagerfeld designs, Rose and I thought, oh, 80 percent of them were atrocities. The one in particular that got us het up was an outfit featuring a tank top with the Chanel logo on it and a necklace of fake pearls bigger than golf balls.

It was also an odd exhibit to be in after a week off from work since suddenly I felt like I was walking through the pages of a Conde Nast magazine, what with all the quotes about fashion all over the walls. The one I found most irritating was, of course, from Lagerfeld (paraphrased from memory, also with slight editorial changes, especially in the second sentence): "Coco Chanel was brilliant, of course, but she only ever did one thing. It is my job as a genius fashion overlord to take what she did and modify it for modern times by taking her beautiful designs and peeing all over them."

The exhibit itself was a pretty darn good refutation of the charge that Coco Chanel could only do one thing. Her designs still look great. And some of the Lagerfeld-era Chanel dresses were nice as well, even I must confess, but mostly all his designs seemed utterly mired in 1980s excess.

At least Cargo is probably never going to feature a profile of Mr. Lagerfeld, being much more of the "practical advice for guys who are slightly clueless about fashion" kind of magazine, which I feel more generously toward than the "pretending that crazy clothes that could have been featured in The Fifth Element and which are held together with a single piece of fishing line and generous amounts of body adhesive are things which normal people might consider wearing" kind of magazine.

Posted by Francis at 07:24 AM | TrackBack

I went to see the exhibit with a friend, and we spent most of the time saying to each other "The Lagerfeld! He must be stopped!" a la The Manolo. Somebody needs to make that man back slowly away from the House of Chanel.

Posted by: Erin at May 31, 2005 12:59 PM

Dude I thought the same thing. I went to the Chanel exhibit day 1, figuring, as a costume designer, I would be floored by Coco's creations. All I see are monstrosities put upon by an aged glasses wearing white haired geezer who probably wishes he was able to wear that crap himself. God, I hate Karl.

Posted by: Robin at May 31, 2005 08:34 PM
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