November 12th, 2013Par Kenneth Goh
A little more Chanel stardust has descended on Singapore - just 6 months after Karl Lagerfeld showed Chanel's Cruise collection 2013 at Loewen Cluster earlier this year.
This time round, the magical star dust came in the form of Chanel's classic jacket - black, beautiful and breath-taking. The Little Black Jacket, a photographic book on Chanel's classic revisited by the power duo of Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld, was turned into a photographic exhibition at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, opening on the 8th November 2013.
The museum is one of the most architecturally unique buildings in Singapore. Designed by Moshe Safdie, the architecture is said to be in the form of a lotus flower, with each of its ten "petals" holding various gallery spaces within the Museum. It is also the world's first ArtScience museum. A cavernous space, with over 21 galleries totalling 50 000 square feet, the ArtScience museum sits on the waterfront of the prestigious Marina Bay Sands, right in the heart of the city.
Following on from major cities like Tokyo, New York, London, Paris, Milan, Beijing and Shanghai, Singapore's exhibition (which runs through till the 1st January 2014) presents a whole new feel to the images, underscoring Chanel's values of creativity and modernity. Pictures have been blown up in sizes unseen before and manipulated in ways that blend colour, texture and a clever play of shadow and light in powerful combinations.
Housed deep beneath the ArtScience Museum, at the very root and heart of Singapore's new iconic monument, 3 enormous exhibition halls were turned into one cavernous space to house all 129 celebrities that Karl Lagerfeld shot for the latest edition of The Little Black Jacket (published July 2013). 22 new celebrities were shot for the second edition of the book, to add to the 107 celebrities he initially photographed for the first edition, published in September, 2012.
Karl Lagerfeld's photographs illustrate the versatility and timelessness of the iconic Chanel jacket. With celebrities as diverse as the laughing Sarah Jessica Parker, with her jacket turned into a flamboyant "crown", to the wimple created for Supermodel Freja Beja Erichsen, Karl Lagerfeld's creative direction made every picture arresting and idiosyncratic, with each celebrity adapting the garment to reflect their own inimitable style.
One of the most interesting exhibits includes a short movie of Yoko Ono, moving to the beat of her own drum and creating a rhythm that only someone as free-spirited and eccentric can do.
The exhibition in Singapore has the addition of 22 new celebrities captured on silk screen, on a wall of it's own. Not all were dressed in black, with arch angel Keira Knightley, ravishing as a couture angel, looking celestial in her white jacket and couture gown, as if descending upon the crowd from the heavens. China's Supermodel Sun Fei Fei went all Oriental as a dowager in an extravagant head dress festooned with Chanel camellias, a dragon embroidered qi pao and some dangerous metallic nails in a homage to the Middle Kingdom. Super blogger, Han Huo Huo, did his own rendition, dark and mysterious with just a smudge of kohl around the eyes for melancholy. A separate room has 4 enormous fire engraved glass portraits, one in each colour of the element. Keira Knightly in heavenly white. Sun Fei Fei in brilliant gold (Yellow being the colour of kings in ancient China), Chinese actress Zhou Xun in majestic red (the traditional Chinese colour to symbolise luck and prosperity) and Han Huo Huo in mysterious blue.
Fabulous was the night, and fantastic was the exhibition. Add in Future Fashion Fun, and you have The Little Black Jacket all wrapped up in this Lion City.
Kenneth Goh, Creative Director, Harper's Bazaar Singapore
May 16th, 2013Par Kenneth Goh
If the ghostly march of a thousand fashion soldiers was Karl Lagerfeld's idea to launch Chanel's 2013 cruise collection, then he found the perfect spot in Singapore to achieve it. The location was Loewen Cluster, a disused military barrack just minutes from the ultra sophisticated skyscrapers of downtown Singapore.
The old black and white buildings were reconstructed more than 6 months ago to transform them into long white-washed galleries, shuttered from the tropical sun with black and white chick blinds. It regained much of its former colonial glory with a good scrub and polish yet left enough of its past in the peeling painted walls and rickety wooden ceilings. It's this romantic charm and imperfection that Lagerfeld loves which new things don't always have - plus it sets the mood.
The result was perfect - the background was set for Lagerfeld to march Chanel's fashion army down the runway on the 9th May 2013.
The Cruise season calls for balmy weather, and Lagerfeld hit the nail on the head with Singapore - with its tropical temperatures and steep colonial past. The setting and locale couldn't be more perfect.
Previously, Chanel's Cruise collections have been shown in St Tropez, Cap d’Antibes and Versailles in France. This was to be Chanel's inaugural worldwide Cruise debut in Singapore – a place that has more high temperatures than low, said Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president, and where the climate remains warm from October to June when the collection is available for retail.
Coincidentally, this collection marks 100-years of Coco Chanel’s foray into fashion with her boutique in Deauville, France, in 1913. Mixing colonial style with Parisian Riviera chic, Lagerfeld sent out over 80 looks of startling contrasts - wide palazzo trousers and then some skinny pencil skirts. Long cardigans and sailor striped tunics were given a jolt a few looks later with short jackets and mini crochet dresses. Denim was mixed in elegantly as were cricket player ensembles of two-tone v-neck sweaters, crisp shirts, a tie and a Singapore cricket bat and shin pads. All the better to knock you out for six .
Lovers of Chanel’s signature diaphanous clothes were not disappointed with pencil dresses defined by black lacquered straw and heavily embroidered dresses by Lesage with blue sequins and strings of pearls. Other Chanel signatures include languid satin dresses and of course, the House tweed – knitted this time in beige and navy with an open weave that perfectly suits tropical evenings. Delicate black lace was backed in cotton poplin and layered with crisp white trousers for both men and women in case you wanted to do a his and hers.
And what’s a Chanel show without a sprinkling of magical stardust? This came in the form of Chanel ambassadors Zhou Xun, Anna Mouglalis, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, actresses Dakota Fanning, Rinko Kikuchi and Singapore’s small screen darlings, Zoe Tay and Fann Wong. On the runway, the supermodel delights of Stella Tennant, Joan Smalls, Cara Delevingne and all of China’s tops including Xiao Wen Ju, He Sui and Ming Xi did their catwalk turn for a delighted international audience.
Cruise is an important season for the French house and especially so this year with the celebration of 100 years of Chanel fashion as initially realised by Madame Coco Chanel herself in 1913.
So, isn’t it fitting that Mr Lagerfeld commemorated this occasion with a film about Coco Chanel? Shown the night before on the manicured lawns of the Raffles Hotel, a large movie screen played the 15-minute movie under starry skies, all washed down with that classic of cocktails - the Singapore Sling.
Set in 1913, with Keira Knightley as Coco Chanel and a bevy of beauties as customers and naysayers, the satirical film takes a light hearted view of fashion with all its frivolities. It is shot in black and white and beautifully accessorized in Chanel, of course.
Earlier, at the accessoirisation session at Raffles Hotel, Karl Lagerfeld executed his final defining touches to the outfits that were to be showcased at this global event.
Rows and rows of rhodium link bracelets and necklaces added that touch of modernity and punk (so appropriate given that the night before, the much awaited New York Met Museum’s theme party was "Punk –from chaos to couture”).
Under Lagerfeld’s hand, atypical Deco dresses and trousers became utterly modern just with a swagger and a hand in the pocket. “Put your hand in your pocket and walk like this” said Lagerfeld to catwalk darling Saskia De Brauw. In her white vest and trousers and man-style tweed jacket, she defined cool with one hand clutching her white bag on her right and her left tucked neatly into her trouser. It’s all about a swagger – and if we learned anything from Lagerfeld’s trip to this little Red Dot, it was this: the right attitude can turn a simple dress into something utterly modern and desirable.
Kenneth Goh, Creative Director, Harper's Bazaar Singapore
Photo by Olivier Saillant