Karl Lagerfeld. How is it that you keep doing what you do? Not only are you setting new standards with the quality of your collections, but you are also changing the way we interact with it.
Traditionally, a fashion show is a tame event. A runway centres the room and chairs for adoring followers surround it. Then at some point that quietness is transformed- chairs are filled, music sets the mood and models do their thing.
But Chanel is anything but tame. Chanel is pure elegance, a point of difference but more importantly Chanel is change.
This season the brand and the mind of Karl Lagerfeld really explored this, particularly the changes and influence of current technology to old techniques. In reference to the show, Lagerfeld stated ‘fashion has to follow everything that is going on in the world. I liked the idea of the most iconic jacket of the 20th century redone in a technique that was not even possible to imagine could exist.’
A Chanel show is unlike any other. Whilst others are comprised of the single moment that makes sense of it all, the one that makes you catch your breath, holding it in so deep for the fear of letting it go means losing that moment, a Chanel show is rather a series of them. Walking into the main hall of the Grand Palais you were greeted with an Art Deco-inspired casino, complete with slot machines and roulette and blackjack tables manned by croupiers.
Then came the show.
The genius that is Karl Lagerfeld means that there is always immense focus on the woman he wishes the brand to encapsulate. Lagerfeld himself is drawn to the characteristics of these female icons- their independence, their attitude and their strength. Which is why these women not only opened but also played the centrepiece to this show. Out came Kristen Stewart – fierce, followed by Geraldine Chaplin – grace, Lily Collins – purity, Lily-Rose Depp – youth, Julianne Moore – grounded, Rita Ora – uninhibited, Jemima Kirk – free and many more women who possessed the prowess of Chanel. So as they all sat around tables, taking part it games of chance, the real moment then started.
First came the classic Chanel suit jacket and skirt combination, but with a twist. Using the latest technology, Selective Laser Sintering, quilt like effects were created on the fabric’s surface. The collection then smoothly transitioned into sweeping hemlines, soft silhouettes and elegant fabrics like satin and chiffon. But the collection never lost its textural touch with each garment embodying the craftsmanship of the Chanel team.
As an audience it’s easy to be caught up in the moment that is a fashion show, but if you pay attention to the finer details, to the beaded hemlines to the string of pearls that edge the garment, then your understanding of the presence of haute couture in this industry will strengthen.
Whilst the look and feel of each piece was a modern vision, they still represented the ideals of the Art-Deco era and the shows surroundings. The collection embraced the loose fitting and masculine inspired look of that time, again in keeping with the perception of a strong and independent Chanel woman. With the final look came the modern woman. Kendall Jenner dressed in a white satin wedding suit, epitomizing the unconventional bride of today.
It’s without doubt that Chanel takes risks, gambling with their own chances and getting it right every single time. With a brand identity so engrained into fashion history, it’s Lagerfeld’s determination to be forward thinking that continues to keep them ahead of the game.