Татьяна (русская душою,
Сама не зная почему)
С её холодною красою
Любила русскую зиму,
На солнце иней в день морозный,
И сани, и зарёю поздной
Сиянье розовых снегов,
И мглу крещенских вечеров.
Tatyana, (to her heart’s core a Russian,
Herself not knowing the reason why),
With all their cold and frigid beauty,
Loved Russian winters with great passion:
The sun-lit hoar-frost on frozen days,
Sledge rides, and from the sunset’s glow
The rosy radiance on the snow;
The foggy nights of Epiphany.
(Eugene Onegin by Aleksandr S. Puškin, chapter V, stanza 4)
This novel in verse, written by Aleksandr S. Puškin and published in complete edition in 1833, is just one of the masterpieces of Russian literature, but in my opinion is the best work about the contrast between fiction and real life. The novel is packed with literary references, and its protagonist, the dandy Eugene Onegin, looks like a collage of different literary heroes (according to Tatyana, the wonderful, romantic and bookish heroine). Though influenced by European culture and trends, the novel beautifully speaks about Russian folklore  and landscape, thus emphasizing the complex character of this fascinating country.
I don’t know if Karl Lagerfeld has ever read Eugene Onegin (I suppose he has), but the work by Puškin and its lovely heroine immediately came to my mind when I knew about the Chanel Paris-Moscou collection (pre-fall 2008/2009). The main source of inspiration is of course the Russian Revolution, the Romanov Czars, but also the Ballets Russes and the flirtation Coco Chanel had with the Russian-Parisian society in the 1910s and 1920s, not to mention her affair with the Grand Duke Dmitrij Pavlovič Romanov.
I must admit I have mixed feeling towards this collection – the clothes are nice but not stunning, the bag and shoe collection are overloaded with decorations (not in my style), but the costume jewellery collection is lovely, with some really interesting pieces.
The Matryoshka doll  is one of the most recognizable and famous symbols of Russian culture, and for this reason it was chosen as decorations for some pieces of the collection. A tiny Matryoshka doll in plexi and strass is the pendant of the long necklace with black pearls and of a pair of earrings.
The lace bow brooch and bracelet could have come from the legendary jewellery collection of the Romanov dinasty and would have been perfect on Tatyana Larina.
The three brooches above have different sources of inspiration – Byzantine art for the first on the left, with resin cabochon stones and freshwater pearls, the symbols of the Revolution for the second one, in resin and metal, and the symbol of the Romanov dinasty (the double-head eagle) for the third.
Pearl earrings are a classic piece in Chanel costume jewellery collections: the first pair has round pearls “closed” by gold metal and rhinestones, the second one has oval pearls with double Cs.
Double Cs can be found in these earrings – a pair in metal, pearls and resin flowers, and a pair in enamel and metal.
The amazing headpieces, in rhinestones and pearls, seen on the Russian models on the runway, are not included in the collection, but they further emphasize the complex imagery of the collection.
Even if I usually write about Chanel costume jewellery, I cannot leave out the most original piece of the bag collection, which could be seen as a piece of jewellery: the now infamous Matryoshka doll enamel bracelet bag, seen on Lily Allen. The first time I saw it, I immediately fell for it: I think it’s so original and funny. Lily is the perfect model  for this bag, but I wouldn’t be bad either!
 I studied Russian at university for three years, I’ve read tons of Russian novels but Eugene Onegin has become my favourite work. Reading it in Russian is an amazing experience! One of the most fascinating parts (in chapter V, stanzas 5-21) speak about Tatyana’s superstitions and dreams, based on Russian folklore.
 The concept of nested objects is quite common in Russian culture and art: think of Easter eggs and the marvellous Fabergé eggs.
 Have you seen the mediocre campaign for the Coco Cocoon line? I’m so sorry Lily – a gorgeous Chanel testimonial in real life – is the protagonist of a dull campaign and that the bag line is so un-Chanel (puffy bags, Karl? Is that a joke?).