Oh, Karl Lagerfeld. He’s crazypants. He’s also the creative force behind Chanel, although I’m sure you all were aware of that. As a result, all of the creative elements of Chanel’s branding are immensely, luxuriously over the top in ways that few other brands can touch (although Louis Vuitton also does an admirable job with Marc Jacobs at the helm), with advertising campaigns and catalogues often photographed by Lagerfeld himself. He is indeed the man behind the camera for Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2009 Accessories Catalogue, but to get a first look at the catalogue and find out more about Krazy Karl’s concept for the shoot, you’ll have to make the jump.
Yes, that is Jerry Hall. And she’s looking absolutely amazing at 52 years old, playing opposite the much-younger Baptiste Giabiconi in Lagerfeld’s interpretation of the 1920 French novel Cheri, written by Colette. In the novel, a years-long May-December romance is interrupted by the marriage of the younger man, after which he returns to his older lover for one night to receive her blessing and support to leave forever. Lagerfeld’s photographs appear to take place during that one last night, and they’re nothing short of gorgeous. Well, except for one; one photo is in full color and seems to convey a much different mood than the others. I can’t help but wonder if it was accidentally included in the electronic package that we received or if it actually appears in the non-electronic catalog. If it does, I think it would have been better left out, but who am I to question Karl Lagerfeld? No one, that’s who, and I’m sure he’d tell you that if you asked him. Actually, he’d probably just tell you that I’m demode.
Anyway, I digress. The handbags…sigh. Kind of a mixed, uh, bag (no pun intended). The hilights are easy to spot – a tulle-covered flap bag quilted with rows of sequins and another classic flap, this one set on its end and made into a north/south tote that plays with an onlooker’s senses of proportion and perception. They’re beautiful in vastly different ways, but both are a play on the classic Chanel aesthetic and make the observer think about form and function. The lowlights…similarly easy to spot. Handbags fashioned to look like shopping bags were boring a long time ago (Bloomingdale’s vinyl “brown bag” totes, anyone?), and I certainly don’t need to pay as much for one as these probably cost. Also, the whole idea seems kind of 2003 – logo bags have been steadily declining in popularity in favor of more subtle luxuries. “CHANEL” in big, bold letters is the antithesis of subtle. Take a look below and tell me what you think.