Why We're Not Impressed With Chanel's Bombay-Paris Collection...

Sue Castellino , 23 Dec 2011

Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto
Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto

While many are saying the recent Chanel Paris-Bombay collection is exquisite and spectacular, I think they are more so referring to the grandeur of the actual show than the garments that came down the ramp. Even Sonam Kapoor and Freida Pinto in the video above go on about the opulent decor of the Grand Palais yet mention very little about the collection.

Honestly, for us Indian consumers we’ve simply seen better – better embroidery, better fabrics and better jewellery. What irked me the most is that so much credit is being given to the in-house Chanel artisans who made the collection, although they’ve been amazing on prior collections, craftsmen in Dharavi are just as good as those métiers d’art.

Had Karl Lagerfeld actually VISITED India, the collection would’ve had a complete different outlook, but to sit and judge what an entire nation is all about from simply reading and looking at pictures is a failure on his part. Doesn’t air France have a Paris-Bombay direct flight? Also using Indian models for the show doesn’t really help his cause, never have we seen so many brown faces on a Chanel runway.

Alissah Ali, Jyothsna Chakravarthy, Ashika Pratt and Laxmi Menon
Alissah Ali, Jyothsna Chakravarthy, Ashika Pratt and Laxmi Menon

All these factors lead me to believe that perhaps Karl is testing the waters to see if the Indian markets will be good to Chanel. Sorry to burst your bubble Karl, but we already have superb Indian wear and don’t require Chanel to give us Parisian copies of what we’re already accustomed to. Make a splash in our the Indian ocean with a truly french inspired collection that is true to it’s label. Give the Indian customer something they’ve never seen or worn before.

Chanel Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra
Chanel Sabyasachi and Manish Malhotra

If we truly look at the garments piece by piece and even attempt to compare them to our Indian designers we are doing ourselves a large dis-service. To compare Karl’s ‘poverty-chic’ (as he calls it) collection to Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Manish Malhotra and Abujani & Sandeep (etc) is a slap in the face to these designers who have a far better skill set and talent when it comes to making Indian wear and Indian inspired ready-to-wear. In fact some of the pieces were very reminiscent of Manish’s and Sabyasachi’s collections.

Jewellery
Jewellery

The saving grace of this collection is really the styling and the jewellery. The rather ordinary lamé, silk and sequined garments were seen in a different light because of its pairing with Maang tikkas and Polk-studded neck pieces. This sort of jewellery has been around since the time of the maharajas and we’ve seen pieces like these in many of our local stores and even bridal exhibitions. Had we seen some of the lamé dresses on Indian runways, we wouldn’t have waited a second to call it tacky and gaudy. Yet, since it’s in the Grand Palais with toy trains running along tables, and soft candle lighting, we’re taking a little longer on calling it as it is. Sorry Chanel, we are not impressed.

tacky & gaudy
tacky & gaudy

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