Feb 12th, 2017, 11:58 AM

Jean-Honoré Fragonard: Inspiration for Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel Spring 2017 Haute Couture

By Jewel Goode
Image Credit: Gettyimages.com
The latest Chanel fashion show gave the iconic brand an artistic twist. Similarly Fragonard's color scheme, shadows and textures are omnipresent within Lagerfeld's designs.

I have always believed that fashion and art posses the same landscape.  This concept is present within Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Haute Couture 2017 collection, held last month at the Grand Palais in Paris.  

The collection displays sublime femininity and sophistication while visibly referencing Le Colin-Maillard (1754-1756), or Blind Man’s Bluff, an eighteenth-century chef-d’oeuvre by French painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Evidently Lagerfeld’s Haute Couture reflects the same level of diversity.

Image Credit: zimbio

The powerful, yet elegant, color scheme immediately captured my attention. Shades of cream, pale pink, yellow and beige are gently anchored with silver and gold accessories or ostentatiously highlighted with an abundance of ruffles, feathers and sequins.

It is clear that Lagerfeld masterfully utilizes classic Chanel iconography, primarily consisting of wool and tweed, while cleverly implementing the same libertine themes as Fragonard. 

Image Credit: accessoriemagaizine.comImage Credit: accessoriesmagazine.com

Chanel's designer adopts the elegant shepherdess of Fragonard’s Le Colin-Maillard and examines the figure as a haute-couture model.  In both genres, she is the dominant, central figure.  Positioned in a sophisticated contrapposto, the twenty-first century model and eighteenth-century shepherdess animate the scene with graceful movements.

The voluminous fabric of Lily-Rose Depp’s pink, chiffon dress is illuminated by a soft, gentle light emanating from above. Fragonard’s blond-haired heroine with undulating curls wears an unassuming straw hat tipped in pink, while those of Lagerfeld’s models sit atop sleek chignons.

Image Credit: Irishtimes.com

The inspiration of Fragonard's painting is juxtaposed by Chanel's refreshingly modern vision. The white, billowing, cotton sleeves mirror the whiteness of the shepherdess' eye bandage, as well as the undergarments covering her bosom.

The delicate pink chiffon contrasts the grayish-blue silk undergarment extending to the figure's ankles. This blue is mirrored in her satin ribbon shoelaces.  The delicate bunch of wildflowers, and the wispy ribbon which adorns her neck, encapsulate the romantic essence of Lagerfeld’s haute couture defilé.

Image Credit: wwd.com

The former being solid, weighted, and rigid; the latter being light, voluminous, and lush. This concept is evident with both Lagerfeld's and Fragonard’s selection of materials, soft color palette, and positioning of architectural objects.

Image Credit: Google Images 

Similar to the painting, strong diagonals are formed during the show. Vertical and horizontal divisions are distinct throughout Lagerfeld’s clever mise-en-scène which utilizes mirror refraction.

Sharp architectural lines clash with the lushness created by the profusion of soft textiles. Both artists create a utopian landscape, with equal harmony; yet, Chanel's collection utilizes such revolutionary inspiration in a futuristic setting.