Evening Ensemble (Detail)
Chanel designed by Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld has taken the eighteenth century as a leitmotif of his art and life, from residences and domestic interiors to fashion- and even to a brief whim of powdering his hair. Here, he has seized the bravura assertion from the court gown, opening up at the center front to reveal not a long petticoat but a very short underskirt and thigh-high boots. For Lagerfeld, the condensed and ironic image is both Versailles and red carpet, aristocracy and showgirl. Other Lagerfeld for Chanel references to the eighteenth century include his 1980s Watteau-back gowns and the 1985 ‘Pierrot,’ or ‘Gilles,’ suit derived from the painting of the same name by Jean Antoine Watteau(1648-1721).