Chanel

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Review

  • Sofia Guellaty

It all unfolded like a play.

Act I
We enter a theatre in ruins. Erected by Chanel’s team of scenographers and standing below the impressive glass ceiling of the Grand Palais, the set was another one of the Maison’s super-productions. The audience was seated in the auditorium among blocks of concrete that have crashed through some of the wooden seats, and the details of this set are mesmerizing per the brand’s tradition. So was the soundtrack: a haunting old phonograph playing opera music.

Then, the beat-up curtains opened to a projection of a futuristic landscape reminding of capitals of the GCC and Asia and likely inspired by Lagerfeld’s keynote in Singapore during his last resort collection, Old and New World. This urban vision, paired with the derelict theatre, transported us to a highly cinematic universe that mixed sci-fi and end-of-the-world whiffs. Where is Lagerfeld trying to go with all of this? He is telling us, once the curtains opened, that his vision is an optimistic one—and that his shimmering sights of couture will give new life to this art left in ruins.

Act II
And then came the Chanel girls in sequins, lamé, cut mirror embellishments, and trompe l’oeil tweeds that were, in fact, fully embroidered—a brilliant execution. Wide belts with crystal buckles were the running accessory paired with suede, thigh-high boots that were so light that they had to be fixed with garter belts.

Origami pleats made for the newest silhouettes at a House where shapes are often repetitive. Hundreds of squares made of tiny folds of chiffon were an homage to Chanel’s newly acquired atelier, Gérard Lognon, which specializes in custom pleating, adding to the Maison’s portfolio of French master artisans.

The silhouettes could be qualified as neo medieval with demure shapes, long sleeved undergarments over dresses, and most of all, a peculiar headwear—supposedly a salute to Grace Jones, who embodies chaotic futurama, but more reminding of the traditional costume from France’s northern region of Brittany and resulting in a decidedly matronly feel.

Epilogue
Lagerfeld has been reflecting on the future for a while now. We remember his solar panel installation of Spring 2013 RTW and the crystal world of Fall 2012. His last Fall 2012 RTW also had an innovation outlook on vintage. But it would appear that each time he turns to the past to stretch the future further, he somehow gets lost in an 80s sci-fi vision. Textile innovation was the name of the game here with washed holographic silks to the woven and embellished fabrics inspired by kinetic art—the treatment of the materials was Lagerfeld’s salute to the new world.