Probably the most recognized brand name in fashion and luxury goods, symbolizing Parisian couture at its best, Chanel has found its way to Kyiv. The official retailer boutique opened in the city a few weeks ago.
One of the oldest fashion houses (opened in 1909), Chanel is known as the inventor of the little black dress, the tweed suit and Marilyn Monroe’s favorite Chanel N°5 perfume. Under the direction of designer Karl Lagerfeld since 1984, Chanel’s creative headquarters are still 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, where Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel opened her first boutique in 1921.
Chanel is not only a synonym of ultimate elegance and great taste, but also a symbol of the strength and talent of the woman, who came from the lower class, relied only on herself, and became the greatest trendsetter of haute couture. Having no aristocratic roots or connections, she carried herself with the egoism of an aristocrat, allowing her to reach all the heights she wanted.
Still, Chanel’s poor childhood had influenced her future creations. For example, she brought costume jewelry into fashion because she had no money for diamonds as a young woman, as didn't most ladies of her time. She made clothes that were simple and chic, creating the true French style classic. Coco Chanel is the one to blame for bringing slender figures into fashion with her little black dress. Flat-chested and not well fed in youth, she had no warm feelings for stout madams and belle epoque aristocrats with their corpulent forms.
But her name has long lost all associations with past poverty. Chanel boutiques are temples and museums, scattered all over the world. One of them, a miniature copy of the Parisian boutique on rue Cambon 31, has appeared in Kyiv right on the corner of Mandarin Plaza shopping center.
The Kyiv boutique was designed by the New York architect Peter Marino and incorporated the whole Chanel world: the latest clothing collections, accessories, fragrances, jewelry and watches. In fact, all the interiors of Chanel’s boutiques in the world, referring to Coco's apartment on rue Cambon, are created from Marino’s sketches. The geometrical interior with straight black lines – counters, shelves and transparent high show-windows are decorated with the Mademoiselle’s favorite flower – camellias, symbolizing purity and sensuality, as well as passion love, obsession and romance. The camellia features everywhere on Chanel accessories and clothes in infinite variations, from the most classical to the most extravagant.
The boutique is conceptually divided into four thematic halls, where each hall differs from the other, and you never get bored, wandering through it. The main, spacious hall is filled with accessories and jewelry, the Golden Room is devoted to footwear and bags, the pret-a-porter room contains the full latest Karl Lagerfeld fall-winter 2008-2009 collection, made for Chanel house. The present creative director of the fashion house manages to create very juvenile and modern clothes, but, at the same time, does not deviate from the main principles of the foundresse's design. Coco Chanel created the style of the modern woman using a very small amount of details, trying to make women's clothing provokingly simple. Therefore, Monsieur Lagerfeld intentionally designs strictly cut dresses, skirts and coats with an extended silhouette, but slightly moderated. Any complicated volumes, architectural details, or deformed silhouettes that were an essential part of many designers' latest creations had no place in Lagerfeld’s autumn/winter 2008-2009 collection. The famous little black dress, so elegant and universal, was renewed with leather trimming. The classic Chanel suit is updated again for the young and modern woman. The shape is kept very slim, but answers the heavier tweed fabric. Suits, some sexy and some more conservative, are from Hr 32,000. Skinny leather pants and trenches are also an essential part of the collection. In the shoe hall, try on the famous court shoes, or, even better, touching girly pumps (from Hr 3,000). The most precious item is the classic Chanel “2.55” handbag with diamond-shaped quilted pattern, that has seduced legions of women across the planet. In 1929 inspired by the men’s military satchel, combing leather and brass, Coco created a strap that was uniquely supple and light, but above all, that always left her hands free (from Hr 17,150). Jewelry fans will find massive plastic bracelets (Hr 8,550), graceful brooches (Hr 4,350) and ornate necklaces. Most pieces have a floral theme — brooches in the form of a bouquet or bracelets with a gold flower engraving. They also stock a range of perfumes and men’s accessories such as ties and watches. Helpful personnel will assist you in finding exactly what you are looking for in the newest fashions available. Just know that nothing says I love you – or, for that matter, I’m worth it – like Chanel