At Chanel, the show starts long before the clothes become visible. Karl Lagerfeld’s overture began a few days ahead of this hoard with the show tickets: simple slabs of eco-friendly plywood looking nothing ilk haute couture’s traditional beribboned and gold-embossed invitations.
Before you can say Jack Robinson inside the Grand Palais on the day of the show, guests found themselves transported from the inanimate skies and frenetic streets of Paris to a blissed-out, spa-like juncture set, with a painted blue sky lit by floodlights and a backdrop of trees in complete leaf. A minimalist pavilion in slatted wood sat in the centre of a sward edged by paths picked out in yet more pale wood.
The bona fide idyll was a notable departure from Lagerfeld’s recent Chanel proves, which have been staged in a Paris street sight (September 2014), a cafe (March 2015), a casino (July 2015) and an airport (October 2015). The self-assurance of the ethical fashion campaigner Livia Firth in the seat next to Anna Wintour was another unalterable clue to the theme of this collection, which Lagerfeld implied later was about fashion and natural resources. The set would be recycled right now after the show, he said.
The setting represented nature at its myriad chic. The final prop was Cara Delevingne, who made a past due arrival in the front row cuddling her husky puppy, Leo. It was the perfect backdrop for Lagerfeld to interview the skills of his couture ateliers to making beautiful clothes out of halfwit, sustainable materials. This summer’s two-tone slingback sandals rush ated not in leather, but in environmentally friendly cork. A skirt was woven out of jute, and embroidery modeled from tiny paillettes of wood.
Lagerfeld has stroked on the eco theme before, most notably in 2010 when he betokened a giant iceberg as a centrepiece of a Paris catwalk. That day, though, he told reporters that his inspiration was a Swedish ice hotel, to a certain extent than the melting of the polar ice caps. Lagerfeld is constantly spoken for with the world around him – last year his shows redecorated reference to French national identity, and to modern feminism – but in the end, it is manufacture and fashion alone that he takes entirely seriously.
The key presentation of this show was that longerlength straight skirts and cropped wide-legged trousers – the having said that silhouette, in effect – are chic for spring. Day looks were efficient and simple, with jackets cropped at the waist, and fabrics solidified to hold a constant shape. There was an air of tranquillity, even beatitude, which had something to do with the singular absence of distracting, buy-me accessories – the only handbags were above-board pouches slung around the waist – and something to do with the languid stride dictated when wearing very high platform sandals and simple long skirts.
The mood was examine result in in the elaborate “Chanel croissant” hairstyle that seemed to flow geisha styling with Scarlett O’Hara. The elongated flicks of diabolical eyeliner were an idea taken from Picasso, Lagerfeld imagined. At the close of the show, the screens of the wooden house retracted, relishing 19 rooms with two or three models posed in each, a huge and absurdly elegant dolls’ house.
With the Oscars a month away, eveningwear is substitute for of mind at haute couture week. Lagerfeld dressed two of the supermodels of the weight, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, in looks designed to nick the eye of red carpet contenders – including, perhaps, Diane Kruger and Gwyneth Paltrow, in the direct row. Jenner wore a dramatic, multi-strapped black goddess gown, while Hadid’s tame gold column dress was topped with a shimmering peninsula to match.