The invitations to the always monumental Chanel RTW show in Paris’ Grand Palais displayed clean green lines above a deep blue background. Outside, several hundred of fashion’s finest speculated on the theme of the collection with most believing they would find themselves on a Tron-inspired set. Instead, once inside, we stepped into a grandiose forest of towering wind turbines and solar panels that Karl Lagerfeld later called “beautiful, modern architecture”.
The collection turned out to be less about eco-sustainability than the setting would have us believe, a running topic in fashion these past few years, and more about renewable energy. Of course the solar panels weren’t real, but a tangible source of energy was present indeed.
Unrelentingly, Lagerfeld designs collections for a minimum of three major brands per year, shoots campaigns, and collaborates on special projects. While some designers are challenged by the domineering presence of a house’s legacy, Lagerfeld is the designer of the present. This ageless, hyperactive genius has made it a sticking point to stay current in everything that he does. The trend for Spring 2013 carries hints of futurism and so did his collection with the introduction of lucite pieces such as the classic Chanel boater circled with wide PVC, beautiful bi-material shoes, and the new Chanel bag in molded plastic. The story began with classic black and white silhouettes featuring a variation on the House’s pearls to then unfold with a reflection on the A-line skirt and a play on volumes achieved through the use of innovative fabrics to create lightness.
There was a playful spirit to the accessories: a quilted bag contained within the rings of two full-size hula-hoops was certainly an iconic piece. “We need energy,” said Karl after the show. From where does his renewable dynamism come, one can only wonder. The amount of time and creativity poured into the 80 looks that came down the runway and the playfulness and innovation behind each garment left us to conclude that Lagerfeld is indeed one reliable power station.