A funked-up collection for Chanel watchersEveryone ― those who love to wear Chanel, those who aspire to wear Chanel, those who love to watch those who wear Chanel ― wants to come to the Chanel fashion show. But entry to the “Chanel Mega Show” in Seoul was strictly invitation-only, with a dress code: Chanel’s signature black-and-white.
At the show, everyone watched everyone else in her Chanel or Chanel-inspired outfit. Those who arrived earlier watched the newly arriving fashionistas at the door where Robert Stavrides, the president of Chanel Korea, greeted and welcomed some 600 privileged guests.
Then came the real show. Chanel’s ready-to-wear fall and winter collection began with progressively “funked-up” but still definitely Chanel numbers on the extra-long runway, covered in a perfectly polished silver sheet, which reflected the white beam.
Small, square, chocolate-bar-like studs made of plastic and chrome were the new retro-chic embellishment to classic Chanel tweed skirt suits, pleated skirts and handbags. A piece of sheer white chiffon hung like an apron over a black skirt. A few short black skirts revealed delicate Chantilly lace trim peeking below the thigh-grazing hemlines. There was innovative Chanel technology in textile: the faux crocodile print blouson was made entirely of light, breathable cotton. The dark brown top was casually matched with chiffon skirts.
This ultra-feminine and surprisingly youthful collection was reminiscent of back-to-school, Lolita-meets-punk fashion circa 1980s. Skirts, belts, buttons and bags were adorned with punky studs, and updated biker boots, dainty spectator pumps and the season’s new “baby” boots in white were matched with skin-tight black lambskin leggings under micro-miniskirts.
Classic ensembles and dresses were accessorized with another noteworthy item: large metal chain loops adorning plastic Chanel logos.
In the coming season, Chanel endorses anything short, very short. Chanel’s classic boucle and tweed jackets were cut short at the waist and small in the shoulder. Blousons and bomber jackets were short, baring the midriff. Silver shorts were very short, accentuating the models’ legs.
Besides Chanel’s signature black-and-white look, there was an array of alluring hues: pastel pink, grey, forest green and silver. They were mostly knitwear made from cashmere, mohair and jersey, featuring soft details, such as pearls and ostrich feathers.
Lastly, after all that hype about Chanel’s chic skiwear on snowy days, here were the winter essentials to be noticed by every Chanel enthusiast: a pearl-studded fur collar, snow boots, white rabbit fur mittens and a pair of black-and-grey short skis.
A new way of looking at the Star Tower building
The recent fashion shows by Chanel and Gucci Korea on the 30th floor of the Star Tower building in southern Seoul have been the most memorable transformations of the venue since it became available for fashion events in Sept. 2002.
Both shows’ production formulas came straight from European runways. The “Chanel Mega Show” turned the entire 750+ pyeong (2,475 square meter) space on the 30th floor into the French brand’s theme, “White Light.” The Gucci show was all about ebony black ― so dark that guests needed to be guided by Gucci staff holding a small flashlight.
Stepping into the Gucci venue, designed to look like the Milan show earlier this year, was like entering an abyss. In every corner, staff dressed in black from head to toe warned guests to watch their step.
When guests were led to the party area, they were again warned to be careful. Ahead, pink searchlights swirled to reveal hunky bartenders serving pink, blue and white cocktails at the bar. They were very muscular, and topless. Velvety black pillows were piled on the raised floor, and seductive trance music filled the air. Welcome to Gucci Lounge.
A mini-interview revealed that those Chippendale-style bartenders had been specially auditioned for the night. A female guest gushed, “The bartenders’ bodies sparkle more than my glitter eyeshadow!”
The Chanel show in the Louvre Museum in Paris in March was reproduced in Seoul as well. A total of 32 local models and celebrities paraded along the 52-meter silver runway lit with white tubular lighting fixtures overhead. A blaze of artificial snow at the finale was effectively dramatic and beautiful.
The design of the vast reception hall, which was conceived by a local team, was all white, but not so simple. Tall glass chambers containing styrofoam snowflakes bursting like popcorn were everywhere. A white plate of dainty finger foods decorated the white table and stools. There were projection screens, cocktail bars and a live jazz band. On the banquet table, a fountain of creamy white chocolate flowed like a hot spring.
Steve Kim, the vice president of Star Tower, has been in charge of property management since its opening in 2001.
“Such spectacular fashion shows can maximize the awareness of the building, which has been so far better known as a business and finance center,” said Mr. Kim, “And we’re pushing for a new market for banquets and events in a capital in need of creative venue choices.”
Already he has received proposals for spring and summer fashion shows next year and is planning chamber music, jazz concerts and corporate banquets for the year’s end. To find out about coming events in Star Tower building, visit its Web site at www.startower.co.kr.
Gucci’s dangerous look is back for the fall
Ever since Tom Ford revamped Gucci in 1996, Gucci fashion shows have been about dangerous sex appeal, and that excitement could be felt upon entering the black space of the recent Gucci show in Seoul.
Beyond the black waiting room, the venue for Gucci’s fall and winter collection was black and white. The reserved seats and wall coverings were black; the runway was covered with a soft bed of artificial white rose petals. The silvery mirror facing the audience reflected catwalk models and white lights.
Gucci men in Korea looked exactly like Gucci men in Milan ― sexy ’70s rock chic with swept-back hair, mustaches and sleek shades. They swaggered down the runway in high-neck shirts and jackets matched with flared dark pants or white slacks, which made for a stark contrast. Trenchcoats were inspired by the ’80s boxy military look. On colder days, Gucci men will turn up those wide, high-notched collars. Tuxedo jackets with wide satin lapels were worn like sport jackets, and were extremely shapely and elegant. Jackets had constructed shoulders with high waists and two vents in the back; they were cut close to the body and short enough to reveal the backside. Main colors were blue-black, black and navy blue.
Gucci women will love to turn up their collars, too. Women’s coat sleeves were only three-quarter-length, accentuating buttery leather gloves.
An emphasis on feminine curves prevailed in the look of the Gucci women. Sleek overcoats had tapered waistlines, either belted with large golden buckles or cinched with kimono-inspired corsets. Stretchy silk skirts were painstakingly tailored and constructed like architectural projects to give a round hip a full three-dimensional geometry. The liquid satin dress in lavender had a bone support inside to trim and elongate the waistline.
It seems that Tom Ford has chosen the shoulder as the It body part of the season. Every clingy dress and blouse came with a dramatic detail on the shoulder. Flared sleeves that split, slipped or hung loose revealed soft, bare shoulders, making them extremely sensual.
The Gucci look is never complete without super-sexy stilettos and handbags, so note those new thigh-high boots with 4.5-inch pin heels, and crocodile handbags bearing the retro bridle design.
Gucci’s revival of bold primary colors popular in the ’80s was impressive. The tantalizing scarlet evening gown at the end was more than the finale of a fashion show. It was the beginning of a new era: the Gucci Woman in Red.
by Ines Cho
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