Chanel Paris Fashion Week
One of the drawbacks of being iconic is that it’s difficult to stray too far from an expectation. And yet, constant invigoration is necessary. (For evidence, look no further than the updated Klingons in the latest Star Trek reboot.)
So it is that Karl Lagerfeld took his bouclé jackets into a rainstorm (or, more conceptually, to the waterfalls of the Gorges du Verdon in the South of France), transforming the signature Chanel boater hat into a transparent number with (what else?) matching transparent boots, in the first of many new looks from the storied fashion house.
But Lagerfeld can’t escape the power of his artistry: which means even a “concept” can’t lessen the unerring balance of colors and lines that make the collection, not just unmistakable Chanel, but unmistakably at the level of Chanel.
As the show progresses, the jackets morph into deconstructions of themselves; transparent gloves and capes make an appearance; there are shaggy sweaters, fairy-tale capes, futuristic materials, and even looks that seem tie-dyed.
All of which is to say, in Lagerfeld’s hands a formula that could risk looking overly familiar or stale, holds up rather in the same way Pachelbel’s Canon and Gigue holds up, no matter how often you hear it.
There are repeats, and then there there are classics.
Chanel Paris Fashion Week
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From the press materials:
This season, the designer tells a story with aquatic tones. An iridescent rainbow palette, with scintillating gold and silver accents, echoes the reflections of the sun and the moon on the water’s surface. Aqua prints in blue and white, luxuriant greens, delicate pinks and vibrant shades imbued with the energy of nature all adorn the Spring-Summer silhouette.
Defined by wide shoulders, described as “tumbling” by Karl Lagerfeld, structured lines are softened by an ethereal fluidity. From metallic tweed to crushed-smooth silk, from chiffon to lace and to the richly embroidered drops of water, each design features a play on light and water. This play is reflected in the materials as well; leather paired with tweed on tops and mini-skirts, tweed patchwork swathes dresses in bold colors. Dresses and wide jackets in woven tweed extend with fringes that quiver like tall aquatic plants, while coat-dresses flow with shimmering metallic threads. The suit jacket is paired with cropped trousers in organic tones, a geometrically stitched dress, or an iridescent skirt trimmed with a twisted braid.
Contrasting structured lines with supple fabrics, oversized blouses in white chiffon, knotted with a scout scarf, are paired with straight mini-skirts. Strapless chiffon sheath dresses with parquet pleating are finished with diaphanous coquillé flounces. A call to lightness and softness is illustrated through dresses in frayed lace or pleated silk. Dresses in waffled chiffon embroidered with crystal pendants accompany dresses with pleats or ribbons and mesh with flounced sleeves that undulate like waves.
With elegant humor, Karl Lagerfeld accessorizes the CHANEL woman with wide-brimmed hats, capes, fingerless gloves, rainboots and thigh-high boots in transparent plastic. The water-drop earrings are accompanied by sautoirs and necklaces of crystalline beads.