Since starting this blog some four-and-a-bit years ago there have been more “pinch me” moments that I can count. From the trips, shows and parties to the clothes, the people I’ve met and the fact La Petite Anglaise is (hopefully) on it’s way to becoming a viable full time job, the whole experience hasn’t been entirely unlike a bizarre – if very intense – dream. And what could possibly be more dreamy than collaborating with Chanel? I’d certainly struggle to think of anything. One of the most iconic, influential and inspiring fashion houses of the past century, Chanel remains as bold, boundary pushing and beautiful under Karl Lagerfeld today as it was when Coco Chanel scandalised and then seduced society during the first half of the 20th century. Just as Coco was originally decried for using jersey in couture, so was Karl for pairing his creations with trainers. It goes with out saying that in both cases, Chanel had the last laugh and where the maison went others swiftly followed. This inimitable and continuing fusion of fearlessness, exquisite design and time tested craftsmanship that imbues Chanel with one of the richest heritages in Paris and it was truly an honour to work with the brand on a shoot featuring the stunning AW14 collection. It was also incredible – albeit in a terrifying way – to be given a lot of creative freedom with this project. Over afternoon tea at Rose Bakery, Chanel’s UK press team and I concocted the idea of working together to showcase the new season pieces as they began to arrive in boutiques around the world. Given the collection’s aesthetic – and of course the fabulous supermarket show back in March - I thought that it might be interesting to shoot them outside a more typically luxurious setting. With a matter of days until AW14 Act 1 would start to hit stores, we settled on Soho and just last Monday we shot ‘em. Having only returned from Trieste at 2am the previous night, and not entirely confirmed which looks we’d be featuring or exact locations we’d be using, things I was a ball of anxiety that morning. After all, if there’s anyone you really don’t want to screw up a collaboration with, it’s Chanel. Thanks to a bit of luck combined with a few hours high speed organisation and the help of a great team we pulled it off and I’m absolutely thrilled with the results.
Look 2: Pink Metallic Dress, Black Leather Boots with Chain Detail & Black Can Cuff (AW14 Act 2 – available in Chanel boutiques from September) worn with Black Quilted Leather Bumbag (AW14 Act 1 – available in Chanel boutiques now)
Look 3: Silver Leather Coat & Miniskirt, Black Wool Pullover, Silver Quilted Leather Bumbag & Silver Black Calfskin Lace Up Shoes with Bow (all AW14 Act 2 – available in Chanel boutiques from September)
I also cannot tell you quite how much fun this was to shoot or how wonderful it was wearing those clothes! Soho was a sweaty, sardine esque crush of tourists that day who gawped at me like I was an alien from planet fashion who had arrived armed with oodles of Chanel delights and hellbent on weirding out the locals. Maybe I’m just a chronic attention seeker - or perhaps the fabulousness of the clothes countered any possibility of self-consciousness – but frankly I couldn’t have cared less. Do you guys like the images? I’m dying to hear your thoughts!
Love Ella. X
Styling & Art Direction by Ella Catliff
Photography by Hanna Hillier
Hair & Makeup by Oliver Simpson
Special thanks to Soho House for being incredibly accommodating, Storm Models for all their help and of course, to Chanel for asking me to collaborate with them.