Well, Dear Reader, I spent a little time in fashion heaven a week ago. At Saks Fifth Avenue I was drawn inside the Chanel Boutique as if being sucked into a force field. I meant to just look at the jackets, definitely on my list of Things I Must Own Before I Die. But then the fabulous Luba, one of the sales associates there, said, "Why don't you try on a few?"
I stripped off my coat and sweater faster than you can say, "Coco!"
Unfortunately I didn't have my camera so the pictures here are the jackets I tried on, but shown on the "runway" for the Chanel Cruise Saint-Tropez collection, and on Katy Perry, featured in the December 2010 Harper's Bazaar. I also tried on one made of the navy tweed comprising the top and bottom of the dress shown in the Chanel ad featuring Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger's daughter, Georgia May, above. In all, I tried on five different jackets, two black, one black and white, one black and red, and the navy tweed. The workmanship was divine and Luba taught me a couple of things, which I will share with you:
1) The buttons change with every collection and their designs are not repeated. The jackets I tried on had buttons with interlocking C's within a braided circle, but others have featured four-leaf clovers, lions' heads (Gabrielle's star sign was Leo), the No. 5 bottle, and ears of wheat, to name a few.
2) The sleeves are a little short, it's a design feature on many of the jackets. "See how it opens up your skin and we can see your watch?" Luba pointed out.
I couldn't believe how good I looked in those jackets, with just a pair of jeans and ankle boots to go with them! My favorite part of this escapade might have been knowing that this is not fashion for twenty-year-olds. These jackets seem to look better on women who have lived a little. Or maybe that's just me projecting.
(Katy Perry, you are too young for that jacket! Hand it over!)
I've read in Chanel: Collections and Creations by Daniele Bott that the fabric for Chanel jackets comes from Lesage, an atelier the company owns, which makes the fabrics that are used in both the pret-a-porter and haute couture Chanel collections. If you get a chance to go to a Chanel Boutique, check out the tweeds used in the jackets because they will blow your mind with their beauty. All different, all stunning.
After I tried on the first jacket, which cost $4,200 (ouch, ouch, ouch), I didn't bother to look at any more price tags. I just let waves of Chanel wash over me. How could I say no to Luba bringing out yet another gorgeous jacket and saying, "Here, try this one on, it just came in." A brand new fresh-from-France Chanel jacket? Pour moi? Mais, oui!
(The tweed in the top and bottom third of this dress, same as above on Georgia May, made up one of the jackets I tried on, with beautiful bits of white woven into the navy.)
As much as I'd like to have a complete accident and buy a Chanel jacket from Luba, if I get one it will definitely be vintage.
Side note: My son was with me and like an 8-year-old boy (or any male, for that matter) he hightailed it to the leather sofa where he watched models from the Fall/Winter 2010 show march down the runway on the endless video loop projected on the wall. He even slouched, took his shoes off (!) and said, "How long is this going to take?"
To which I wanted to say one of two things:
"Forever, son, it's going to take forever, because I'm not leaving, so scoot over, that's the sofa I will sleep on when I become a nun here at Chanel."
Either that or,
"Sit up straight, put those shoes back on, and show some respect! This is the house that Coco built!"