Who could attract the 2 remaining couturiers in the last decade? sure she's not a B-list female so-called film star like Maggie Cheung. The answer is the one & only - Lady Amanda Harlech.
It was fantastic to have a chance to interview her via email from before, I thought maybe I could put it up here and share...
SPOV: moi / AH: Lady Amanda Harlech
SPOV: General speaking, haute couture has been associated more with the evening gear, we know it’s not true, how do you define the day looks between couture & prêt-a-porter in general?
AH: The difference between the « day looks » -Haute Couture vs Prêt-à-Porter- is like comparing two poems- both are touching, incredible and meaningful but their construction and vision belong to different intentions. The suppressed passion and refined line of the H.C. daywear is a more distilled version of the RTW which is a lighter, more trend-driven note in a broader collection.
The obvious difference is the fabric and the embroideries !
SPOV: We see the focus has gone back to the waistline – the fashion zone du jour, but nothing could ever replace the shoulder structure on any Chanel pieces, especially the day suit, why is that?
AH: The shoulder, the narrow torso and hips are the framework from which Karl Lagerfeld evolves his Chanel collections. Of course the «zone du jour » is emphasized in tune with the zeitgeist of the moment but the morphology of the Chanel suit remains in the defined shoulders.
SPOV: Chanel is about line, proportion and the body, what other things required wearer to make it work and look chic in Chanel?
AH : Chanel chic is all about effortless style. There is an easy grace which makes women move beautifully in Chanel. It is a dynamic in the design.
SPOV: We see more forceful, intense, rigid, sculpted silhouette, be it on the arm, back, hemline, or collar, even on the lightest feather gown, we see the same development in the F/W 06 show, what was the stimulation on revisiting such designs?
AH: I think Karl Lagerfeld is always re-inventing, evolving the Chanel collections in time with women’s sense of themselves and after the ebulliance, and colour of the Jimmy Dean Collection he wanted a very defined, refined line- high identity Chanel!
SPOV: In January, you had Victoria Beckham and Avril Lavigne in the audience, and I know Karl admires Duchess of Cornwall more than Princess Diana, among the four of them from complete different background, who would you like to see in Chanel couture the most?
AH: All of them…wearing Chanel for the right reason…because they love what they are wearing and feel good in it!
SPOV: Karl is just so capable to capture youth for Chanel, constantly. As one of his close workmates and someone who has been described with fine eyes and effortless chic all the time, I assume you believed in aging gracefully, how do you see youth?
AH: Karl Lagerfeld has his finger on the pulse of youth culture - he is surrounded by musicians, film makers, writers, models, stylists- his friend’s children adore him. I think there is no divide, no youth vs. ‘ has been ‘. Somebody of 90 can be more curious and full of life than a 15 year old. I believe it is one’s attitude and one’s ability to re-invent and to transform and to accept what is new which is important - not how old you are.
SPOV: Can you use three words to describe your current ideal of modernity? Is being modern important to you?
AH: Fresh. Intense. Defined.
I am never that self concious – ie. Never compare yourself… just be yourself… That is modern.
SPOV: How important is it to have romantic ideas in mind, and how do you make use of it at the House of Chanel?
AH: It is not really being ‘ romantic ‘ so much as having the capacity to believe in the intention of a collection – the beauty of the articulation of Karl Lagerfeld’s concepts is itself romantic.
SPOV: You have been helping out at Fendi in recent seasons, the image has completely transformed into a more romantic and poetic look. Can you tell me the differences between being a key creative soul for Chanel and Fendi?
AH: None. It is Karl Lagerfeld’s vision that ignites the studio and fires the poetry of the collection.
SPOV: What was the story behind your book- <
AH: The « Alan Seeger » book of poetry for which I wrote the introduction was a brilliant project of Karl’s. His house in Biarritz is on the road named after this American hero and poet and he wanted to publish his poems along with photographs taken by himself of the places that Alan Seeger wrote so tellingly about. In some respects Alan Seeger and Karl Lagerfeld are similar – both poetic/artistic exiles in France.
SPOV: Are you planning on any other book? What are you reading currently?
AH: I am planning a novel butI have not been disciplined enough to get down to write it.
I am reading a biography of Madame de Staël.
SPOV: Does literature affect your work? and how?
AH: Literature and the quest for truth affect everything I do.
SPOV: Your wardrobe is a hybrid of high-end prêt-a-porter, how to you define your style? English or French? Any rules at all?
AH: I hope my style is about the love of clothes. It certainly doesn’t follow any rules but I am not conscious of deliberately breaking any rules either.
SPOV: Finally, I must use the opportunity to tell you how much my friends and I admire your personal style like many others in this world. How do you see such iconic status yourself? How does it feel like being idolized through personal style so much?
AH: I never thought about that. Working alongside of Karl Lagerfeld is all about definition and redefinition. His sense of STYLE makes all of us raise our game!