Who would have thought a 100-year-old matyo would be the perfect accessory for a Chanel knit sweater? Or that a Polish university could be the quintessential backdrop for a Parisian pearl-embroidered frock? Peter Farago and Ingela Klemetz-Farago did: The photographer and stylist make the East-meets-West connection between Chanel and former Eastern Bloc countries in their newest book, Women in Chanel, which is available tomorrow. It’s the second in a series and acts as the sequel to Northern Women in Chanel, a 2011 tome that focused on Baltic and Scandinavian beauties. This time, the duo will be launching their book with an exhibition at the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture, a division of the National Museum in Warsaw, with all proceeds going to Save the Children.
Farago and Klemetz-Farago’s couture-dotted view of countries like Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania features Chanel-endorsed beauties from those very nations like Andreea Diaconu, Eniko Mihalik, Anja Rubik, Monika Jagaciak, Magdalena Frackowiak, Vanessa Axente, and Malgosia Bela—all, of course, wearing Chanel. What made their latest models stand out? “The sculptural cheekbones and big eyes,” said Farago. “Seems like there is a special wind blowing from the Carpathian Mountains!”
The inspiration for the sets was similarly homegrown: Polish model Anna Jagodzinska was photographed in the chemistry lab at the Warsaw University of Technology and cited the Polish-born French scientist Marie Curie as among her inspirations for the shoot. “The location was just fantastic; you can’t find that kind of spot anywhere else because everything is so modernized,” said Farago. “It was an old laboratory—a dream location.” Another unexpectedly chic backdrop? Hungarian model Axente posed on the Puszta, the Great Hungarian Plain, complete with a herdsman dressed in a traditional suba coat. “It was a great thing to see that old folklore is still very modern,” added Fargaro, “as well as contemporary within these garments.”
The touring exhibition of Women in Chanel starts at the Xawery Dunikowski Museum of Sculpture on March 31. The book is available at faragopublishing.com.