Era of Chanel


POSTED: Thursday, May 07, 2009

Hello kiddies. Believe it or not, there was once upon a time a belief, in the streets of Honolulu, that the height of luxury was defined by a handful of stores: Carol & Mary, I. Magnin and Liberty House.





        Chanel 25th anniversary exhibitions

» Place: Chanel Waikiki third floor VIP Salon


» Time: Store hours, Saturday through June 6


» Admission: Free


» Call: 923-0255


» Note: For another glimpse into the world of haute couture, catch “;Valentino: The Last Emperor”; at Kahala Theatres. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld makes a brief appearance toward the end of the film.




These were the years B.C.—before Chanel.

The iconic brand arrived in 1983 and changed the way we see and relate to luxury.

The boutique, the first Chanel store to open in the United States, marks its 25th anniversary in Honolulu this year, and will be doing so in style, with two special exhibitions at the Chanel Waikiki boutique. The first is an exhibition starring house founder Gabrielle “;Coco”; Chanel.

In 1962, Douglas Kirkland received an assignment from Look magazine to photograph Coco Chanel for a story documenting the fashion icon. For three weeks, he shadowed her, building trust and a friendship that resulted with photographs that provide an insider's view of her life and work as a fashion revolutionary.

The photo collection, curated by James Cavello, will feature 36 black-and-white portraits of Chanel, capturing details of her daily schedule and as she met with models, artisans, clients and friends. The photographs will be on view at the Chanel Waikiki boutique Saturday through June 6.

WITH CHANEL'S MOVE to the islands came fashion shows that introduced a generation of fashionphiles to the haute couture of Paris. These collections, presented on rare occasions, allowed connoisseurs to examine up close, the work of the Metiers d'Art, the Paris artisans whose specialized skills are combined in the construction of exquisite haute couture ensembles.

Their ranks include feather workers, embroiderers, milliners, goldsmiths and shoemakers from the respective houses of Lemarie, Lesage, Michel, Desrues and Massaro, who continue to bring centuries-old traditions of handcraftsmanship to Chanel's loftiest one-of-a-kind pieces. The company aims to protect this traditional heritage and since 2002, Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has dedicated an annual collection that travels around the globe, showcasing the work of these master craftsmen.

In celebration of the Honolulu anniversary, the Paris-Moscow Collection, will arrive at the Chanel Waikiki boutique with a mannequin display of the collection inspired by Russian design traditions.

The collection's key silhouette, comprising an ottoman coat and black taffeta dress, was inspired by Liobov Popova's painting, “;Painterly Architectonics, 1918-19.”;

The dress “;plays with the contrast between geometrical beveled architecture and the delicacy of tulle frills,”; said Virginie Viard, creative studio director at Chanel, adding that the embroidered piece, made by Atelier Lesage, took more than 110 hours to complete.

Accessories include jeweled belts, oversized crosses embellished with stones, and heavy Byzantine brooches.

The boutique will also have on view a limited-edition J12 white watch with 11 blue sapphire indicators and a blue sapphire cabochon crown, created for the special occasion.