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At Chanel and Dior, the Incredible Intimacy of What You Cant Buy Online

Or an intimate conversation between you and yourself? They are legitimate questions, though, as Karl Lagerfeld proved at Chanel, the divide does not always have to be so stark. Against a backdrop of the Institut de France — the 18th-century building facing the Pont des Arts that is home to the Académie Française — and along a runway built to resemble the sidewalks by the Seine, complete with bouquinistes (the sellers of vintage books and magazines) and a sprinkling of observers (men and boys wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “Institut Chanel”), Mr. Lagerfeld unveiled a meditation on the underneath, as well as the streets of the city. Chanel haute couture, fall 2018.CreditValerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times Chanel haute couture, fall 2018.CreditValerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times Attenuated ankle-length skirts and long-sleeved peplumed jackets in stony, concrete shades of tweed unzipped along side seams to reveal elbow-length leather gloves and thigh-grazing miniskirts: first from wrist to elbow, then from ankle to waist, then hip to ribs. Chiffon and tulle evening dresses created a peekaboo effect atop silver sequined spaghetti-strap minidresses. A Mylar quilted balloon skirt was belted over a velvet minidress finished in oily feathers. A mint green bouclé wedding suit hammered home the limb-framing effect. Some of the layering was too heavy, in both idea and execution, but the concept was cool.

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