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Under the Sea

October 5, 2011

We’re near the end of the season, and two of the biggest final shows in Paris, Chanel and McQueen, ended up sharing a common thread. Both of their inspirations were drawn from the sea. It’s interesting to pit the two against each other, and to compare how the poster children for classicism and avant garde interpreted their muses in distinct ways.

Chanel

Alexander McQueen

While Chanel gets major points for making pearls as edgy and sexy as they did in that second look, in a way that really only Chanel can (as well as for having Florence Welsch singing at the end), I have to say I prefer McQueen’s take on the ocean as muse. I thought Burton’s collection was far more visceral: I could feel the shells, the foam, the waves. I liked how she captured how the ocean can be both magical and dangerous. Besides, I felt a lot of Chanel’s looks were too unflattering. If they make the models look boxy and bulky, how am I supposed to look in them? A lot of their notes felt too literal, like the¬†opalescent material scattered throughout the show. It’s funny to give that criticism to them, seeing as how McQueen’s collection had mermaid skirts and what I’m assuming were actual shells, but it just seemed like more subtle details as a footnote to the overarching design, rather than the basis for them.

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