Chanel has made a habit of transforming the Grand Palais in Paris into an immersive set: There was the Chanel airport; the Chanel grocery store; the Chanel data storage center.
But the mise en scène at Tuesday’s Chanel Spring 2017 Couture show did something different. The show was cast in a space fully mirrored, not only along the walls but across the floor, leading one’s eyes to gaze at every possible angle of the show’s 64 looks, many of which reflected light back themselves. There were no Twister boards or male models-turned-servers to distract, only the ensembles.
During the show, Karl Lagerfeld delivered all those things that might seem at odds in fashion: primness and provocation, rigidity and fluidity. In suiting, Lagerfeld served pussy bows, tweed, and bold color in strong shapes that borrow from ’20s sculptural cubism. And each dress in the collection was a masterpiece balancing hard and soft lines.
All eyes were on Lagerfeld’s muse of the moment, Lily-Rose Depp, who played the enviable role of Couture Bride.
At first look, it’s easy to miss the precious details that distinguish Chanel Couture. The audience had the benefit of that enchanting mirrored room, casting a light on all that one might otherwise not see. For those of us who didn’t, here are four things we spotted on the runway that you might have missed.
At the Chanel Spring 2008 ready-to-wear show, models wore bulky ankle bracelets — if you could call them that — on one leg. The accessories were less bracelet, more micro-purses tethered to models’ ankles.
It took a decade for Lagerfeld to bring the ankle bracelet back to Chanel. On Tuesday, each model (who wasn’t wearing boots) wore a pearl ankle bracelet on her left leg above a pair of silver pumps. Models wore no other jewelry during the show.
Also found on almost every one of the five dozen looks were wide belts with rectangular buckles. Les ceintures came in a variety of colors: silver metallic, pink, white, black, pewter, navy blue, champagne, gold.
Though the belts at Tuesday’s show are similar to the Chanel Cruise 2016/17 belts we saw last year, there’s one noteworthy difference: This year’s version is missing the “CHANEL” name etched along the belt frame, bucking the logo belt trend that was huge in 2016.
The belts were cinched above the waist near the rib cage, leading us to our next #detail…
No, not “spoon” as in soup, “Spoon” as in the 1920s sculpture by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti that Lagerfeld cites as a primary source of inspiration for this collection.
The Art Institute of Chicago says of the piece, “The figure’s blocky head, chest, and feet reflect the geometry of Cubism.” Of course, Lagerfeld isn’t making the clothes “blocky” so much as he’s drawing attention to those areas: the belts situated on high lure you into the chest; the ankle bracelets bring your eye down to the models’ feet. And of the shape, Lagerfeld says it’s all meant to elongate the leg.
The collection was dynamic not only in shapes but also in textures. Lagerfeld proves that there can be dozens of permutations perfectly marrying silk, beading, feathers, tulle, lace — without sacrificing the collection’s cohesiveness. Bold beading cuts into feathered drop waists and tea-length hems; silk softens statement sequins.
Chanel Couture child-bride Lily-Rose Depp was enveloped by a billowing pink tulle skirt like a genetically modified pink carnation (similar to a yellow Giambattista Valli gown from this season).
Thanks to Lagerfeld, we’ll reflect shamelessly on this collection, details and all.