The Portrait Collar

If you had the misfortune of living with me, you’d want to be on holiday (as in away from me) from late November to mid-January, when sales season is in full swing. Otherwise you’d soon be fed up of seeing me in major cray mode, emailing/texting/calling my network of boutiques to hunt down the items on my wish list. This year was even worse since I got a very late start in my chase due to my travel schedule, not to mention the unexpected adoption of the Birkin that significantly dented my shopping budget. And with each department store and boutique buying less inventory in my size overall, my pool of Chanel sale rtw shrank as quickly as cashmere in a dryer. For the most part, I was up the fashion creek without the proverbial paddle, which was a real shame because I coveted so many pieces from the Chanel pre-Fall 2012 season. The Paris Bombay collection was yin to my yang, and yang to my yin.

This look #5 from that runway (courtesy of hit me like a mac truck:

A possibly detachable bib? I’m in. I tried it on at my local boutique then later again in Brussels and Paris and loved it each time:

I even contemplated paying full price for it and not getting anything else the rest of the season. When a very tall woman of a certain age wandered into the Paris boutique with this dress on, I stalked her with my eyes. I knew I did not have her carriage and would not be able to wear it so elegantly, but I was hopeful its dual simplicity and uniqueness would go a long way in turning any turnip into a lady. It’s something the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy would have looked beautiful in.

LOVE the peekaboo slit on one side of the bib (which turns out to not be detachable after all):

So I’m quite thrilled that I was able to score this in my size on sale. I’m having the dress altered so that the sleeves and overall fit on me would be more like how it showed on the runway. No more dark chocolate peanut M&Ms for breakfast, though. Sacrifices must be made in the name of ivory dresses everywhere!

But as you can tell from today’s title, this entry is about something else–a jacket. Not just any jacket, or any dream jacket for that matter, but the one with the portrait collar. I’d tried this jacket on a couple of months after I tried on the above dress and it shot up to number one on my wish list. Sure, I’d have to rob a bank or sell a kidney to get it but I could not get it out of my head. The sweet, sweet collar (aptly called “Cleo collar” by one of the sales associates at Chanel)…

the ornate buttons…

the overall regal look of the fabrication and hues…

As soon as I buttoned the last button I knew it was over. Shut the door, light a cigarette, and let the fat lady sing kind of over. All-star dream jacket status.

But would something like this last till sale season? Possibly, because it is actually a tough style to fit. The shoulders have to basically sit squarely on the wearer in order to not look messy. And the sleeves are a bit narrow, not to mention a rather heavy tweed that’s doubly weighty given the double-breasted style. Plus the nasty price. So for all these reasons, I took my chances.

Months led to December and I became that crazed person searching high and low for it, well after sales had started at Chanel. To my credit I left no stones unturned, but it was just not meant to be. A huge computer glitch at Chanel also made it impossible to do any kind of real search nationwide. My devoted friends helped me look in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Zilcho. The jacket had slipped out of my fingers. My SA was right; something this special was worth the price of my spare kidney.

But hmmm, let’s see, you should know by now that I wouldn’t waste your time going on and on about something unless I had somehow magically pulled it out of thin air, right 😀 ?

Well, dear readers, it was one of those calls that came after dinnertime when your belly is so full you can’t tell if you are awake or half-asleep. But sure enough, it was the boutique in Hawaii that found it. Somehow this jacket in a 34 showed up at their door. They had no idea why it was sent there (probably due to that aforementioned computer glitch), but my SA knew I had wanted it (actually I think all the boutiques knew I wanted it by then!) and thought she should call me. Several anxious days later, the jacket is here, ready for its closeup–sleeves are a bit long, though, no?

Go ahead and sing, fat lady. My (imaginary) cigarette is lit and my search is finally over. On to the next season. May the fashion force be with me!


  1. Lauren

    You have an amazing Chanel collection! It looks great on you.

  2. silky1way

    I just adore your Chanel collection generally. You have this sort of special skill for choosing the right piece exactly for you no matter if jacket or bag and for me a great information source of Chanel.

  3. larkie

    oe93lks: thank you so much for the pic of sjp in that dress! i wish i could see what shoes she wore with it though! and yes, i’ve heard about KL in dallas. now if i could somehow score one of those tickets…

  4. larkie

    thanks everyone! it does take a lot of discipline to build a chanel dream closet, though, esp for someone like me who loves to look at everything on the runway! but i’ve learned to just look/drool but save all my hard earned pennies for chanel.

  5. Simplyfab

    You have a dream wardrobe….everything a girl would want in her closet. Love the new dress and jacket

  6. stefania (cielo 70)

    Beautiful jacket! is the same (size 34) that I have tried in the boutique in Milan in September 2012.Ti fits perfectly. I too was hesitant about purchasing (given the price …) then I decided on a black 226 reissue. Was hoping to find in the balances …. but there was ……

    congratulations on your purchase!


    I saw your blog on PurseForum, in the Chanel RTW thread. I must have spent a good hour just ogling at your collections! Everything is gorgeous!!

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