Part of Karl Lagerfeld's pre-fall 2011 collection for Chanel, which was presented last week in Paris, is inspired by Justinian's wife Theodora. He describes it as "Granny takes a trip to Constantinople." Style.com has the details:
The season's theme, Paris-Byzance, Lagerfeld explained, was inspired by the Empress Theodora and the lost culture of Byzantium. In typically rapid-fire mode, he noted: "Theodora was a circus artist who became empress, like Chanel, who was a little singer and became a fashion empress." Ba-domp-bomp! Mostly, however, the reference came via Coco's Byzantine-inspired Gripoix jewelry, which is instantly recognizable even today.
Lagerfeld's take on it cross-pollinated the fifth century with sixties London. Call it "Granny Takes a Trip to Constantinople." These dolly birds wear their swingy navy peacoats trimmed with exquisite little jeweled buttons; their every square-heeled boot, black leather glove, and quilted handbag come encrusted with big glittering stones. And to upgrade that messy beehive: a filigree headband. The bohemia was possibly at its hautest in the amazing multicolored knits made decadent with gold thread, embroidered fringe, and chunky gold chains knitted right in.
You create a mischievous parallel between Coco Chanel and Theodora.
Exactly. She liked jewelry with a Byzantine touch, cabochons. We see them on the mosaics and everything. The mosaics are exquisite. But in photos, a good documentary photograph has no life. I think I found a way to photograph them which portrays the emotion of their reality. You will see I do not want to influence you.
Is the idea of mosaics central to this collection?
Of course, in the embroidery. The buttons are square like Byzantine jewelry. Nothing really shines. Everything has a shimmer like mosaics. Mosaics were in lapis, pieces of glass with gold leaf underneath. It is incredible.
That is a transcription of a full interview at Chanel News. There is also more comment at Fashiontribes.com. No mention of geese anywhere...
A lovely piece by the always good Maev Kennedy on the Frome Hoard in today's Observer:
Crisp hated history at school, and left at 15 to join the services, where he became a cook. He now works as a hospital chef in Chippenham, and took up metal detecting as a hobby. The farm where he made his find, in a hamlet about a mile from Frome, is just an hour from his home in Devizes, and handy for a quick mooch about after an early shift. He talks easily of Roman emperors and Saxon kings, of gray ware pottery and silver siliquae coins, of the buckles and belt tags and strap ends which can light up this subject that now fascinates him.
What he found that afternoon is now stacked in a waist-high pile of shoe box-sized cardboard boxes, in a corner of an office in the coins department of the British Museum – a Diagon Alley place of mysteries, on two floors, protected by a three-inch-thick strongroom door.
The boxes hold the contents of a giant potbellied jar which lay in the clay of that sloping Somerset field for almost 2,000 years, filled to overflowing with the largest coin hoard ever found in a single container in Britain. "You can see what a job it's going to be to clean the horrors," Sam Moorhead, a Roman coins specialist, says fondly, running through his fingers a handful of disgusting bits of metal, green with corrosion, ragged with welded-on bits of other broken coins. Studying the 52,503 of them that are legible will occupy the experts for the rest of their careers.