I am convinced any kind of passion needs a strong motivation and new sources of inspiration to be rekindled, and this is so much true when it comes to fashion. The world of fashion (and of visual arts) follows Antoine Lavoisier’s theory, according to which nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, but everything is turned into something else. This is the reason why I don’t think it’s possible to say something is out of trend, because the long wave of fashion can make anything trendy again.
Take all the head ornaments (scarves, head-bands and head-pieces, not to mention hats). They were glamourous in the Seventies and in the Eighties, but in the following decade they nearly disappeared. During the last few years, thanks to some celebrities and to Eric Daman, the genius mind behind the style of Gossip Girl, these accessories have become hot again. Many fashion brands produce this type of accessories, but I think Maison Michel is among the most original and interesting. The maison was founded in 1936 in Paris by hatmaker Auguste Michel; in 1968 it was taken over by Pierre Debard and in 1996 it became part of the Chanel universe. That is why all the hats and head-pieces seen on Chanel recent runways are creations by Maison Michel, and that is why the gorgeous advertising campaign for fall/winter 2009 has been shot by Karl Lagerfeld.
All the photos are shot in an extremely refined black and white; the composition is really simple (models pose with a neutral background behind), but what is interesting are the models themselves and what they wear. Lagerfeld called the creme de la creme of the trendy young people who gravitate towards the world of fashion, but also models (former and current Chanel faces), journalists and designers, and made them the faces of the Parisian maison.
Sasha Pivovarova and Milla Jovovich are among the celebrities who are part of this extraordinary campaign. They are both wearing pieces by Maison Michel (Sasha is wearing a lovely head-scarf in the pic on the left), but also multiple chain necklaces by Chanel. I love when different brands influence each other, and I also love when it is possible to sense a strong influence of a celebrity’s personal style in a campaign. To be more precise, I am quite surprised not to see Mischa Barton among the testimonials, because many of the Chanel accessories she recently wore have been chosen for the campaign.
In January 2009 she was spotted in Paris wearing the same necklace Milla is wearing in the campaign. She wore Maison Michel hats, Maria (a large-brimmed white hat) and a bowler hat. In the pic on the left she was also carrying a Chanel bowler bag (from the Luxe Ligne).
Speaking of bowler hats , this is one of the most famous pieces produced by Maison Michel. Olivier Theyskens (Rochas and Nina Ricci designer), actress and model Joana Preiss, actress Melanie Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld’s new favourite male model, Baptiste Giabiconi, all wear different versions of bowler hats.
Olivier Zahm, art critic and editor-in-chief of Purple Fashion, posed shirtless and with a bowler hat with the scantily clad Lara Stone (protagonist, with Giabiconi, of Chanel fall/winter 2009 campaign and of the short movie Fitting Room Folies). On the other hand, Lara is the only model in the pic on the left, where she’s wearing a plastic bonnet.
Sean Lennon is the talented son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, a regular of fashion weeks and hip social events. I love the shot where he’s posing with his girlfriend, the model and musician Charlotte Muhl. He’s wearing his trademark thick-rimmed spectacles and a felt hat, while she’s bare-chested, wearing a sparkling head-band and a gorgeous collar necklace.
This amazing piece is part of Chanel Paris-Londres pre-fall 2008 collection and it was seen on Mischa Barton in February 2008.
Stylist Charlotte Stockdale is wearing a sequined blazer and a wide-brimmed hat, and is holding her son Imogen in her arms. Isn’t the boy cute with his tiny hat on?
Another couple mother/son can be found in Maison Michel’s campaign. She’s Virginie Viard, the beautiful director of Chanel creative studio, and he’s Robinson, her son. They’re both wearing shirts with a vest (for Virginie) and a jacket (for Robinson), and similar hat styles.
When you think about the Parisian fashionocracy, Lou Doillon cannot be left out. The lovely daughter of Jane Birkin and Jacques Doillon (and Charlotte Gainsbourg’s sister) poses for Lagerfeld wearing a top hat in miniature and holding a rabbit on her head. I love the detail of the drop-shaped pearl in her hair.
I’ve never heard of this couple before, but I’ve found out they’re both artists. Andre is a graffiti artist, while Uffie is a singer. In any case, their portrait is one of the most beautiful, romantic and intense of the whole campaign. This photo is all about contrasts: she’s blonde and is wearing a white dress, he’s dark-haired and is wearing a black blazer. What unites them are the similar top hats and the black veil on them. Note the position of Andre’s hand on Uffie’s belly and breast, very protective and caring.
Model Rebecca Dayan and socialite Eugenie Niarchos wear chain braided head-bands. Rebecca’s dress is barely visible, but it looks like the infamous Alexander Wang tulle dress. I’ve immediately recognized the dress Eugenie is wearing, because I’ve already seen it on Mischa.
It’s a beaded short dress by Versace (spring/summer 2009 collection), worn by Mischa Barton on the set of the tv show The Beautiful Life, which is being filmed in New York.
Angela Lindvall and Anouck Lepere  started their modelling careers in the Nineties, but now they are symbols of a bohemian and artsy beauty. They’re wearing head-pieces decorated by feathers: Angela’s is like a small crown, while Anouck’s is a simple head-band. Angela is also wearing a pair of Chanel cuffs.
Fashion journalist and Lagerfeld’s source of inspiration, Lady Amanda Harlech, posed for Karl wearing a black dress with puffy sleeves and a birdcage veil topped by a feather bow.
Last but not least are the most famous and sought-after pieces of the collection, the lace ears. Laetitia Crahay, head of accessories and jewellery at Chanel and artistic director of the Maison Michel, wore the bunny ears with short veil on the front, while Heidi Mount, the face of Chanel for the spring/summer 2009 collection, wore the Mickey Mouse ears. If it is true every picture tells a story, these two let us enter a magical world.
The founder of the lace bunny ears club is Lily Allen, who first wore them, with the veil on her face, during a live performance in June 2009, and in the photospread on i-D Magazine (August 2009 issue). Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but in the shooting she wore the same Chanel collar seen on Mischa Barton and Charlotte Muhl.
Lady GaGa joined the club in July 2009, when she was spotted in London wearing an Alexander McQueen wool dress and the lace ears, with the veil on her eyes. She sported the same accessory on the cover of the Spanish magazine Neo2.
There’s no need to explain where the bunny ears come from (Playboy bunnies, enough said), but I must admit the trend is spreading everywhere. Even Diorella, my pet on Pet Society, owns a pair of bunny ears.
As for the mouse ears seen on Heidi Mount, the primary source of inspiration is of course Mickey Mouse. Heidi is wearing a t-shirt with Madonna (during the Who’s That Girl phase) – wearing Mickey Mouse ears – printed on it (talk about a chinese-box picture!). Britney Spears, a former Mouseketeer, wore the same ears in a recent photoshoot.
Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s daring style choices are well known by fashionistas all around the world, and their appearance at Opening Ceremony party in Tokyo, earlier this week, caused quite a buzz. Their shoes and bags are Prada, but their bunny and mouse ears are unmistakably creations by Maison Michel.
I would never wear such eccentric accessories (in any case, I would choose the bunny ears), but I would definitely and willingly wear a bowler hat or a tiny top hat. What about you? Would you like to follow the Olsen’s steps and go out wearing lace bunny ears?
 Some time ago I wrote something about bowler hats in modern culture.
 She was the face of Maison Michel in spring/summer 2009 advertising campaign.