Leaves appeared on the runway, foliage prints and golden brown hues expressed nature’s rich palette. Paired with subtle metal tones, luxurious tweeds with sumptuous leather accents announced a touch of spring in autumn. A forest imagined by Karl Lagerfeld set the tone for the Chanel Fall/Winter 2018/2019 show as the stunning Grand Palais opened its doors for the invitees. Leaf motifs in autumnal shades, golden makeup theme, rows of faux fur envelop knitted dresses and quilted down jackets worn over black and white dresses announced a new look for the iconic maison.
“I’ve always loved autumn. This is a kind of Indian summer, with all the leaves. It’s a beautiful mood”, Lagerfeld stated after the show. Although the Kaiser of fashion had not envisaged any particular forest for the runway backdrop, there was a personal connection with the past that inspired him to opt for a natural, earthy theme. “I was brought up in the country, on an estate which had 12 allées [of trees] going from the house.” For the last two shows at the Grand Palais, Lagerfeld was contemplating nature. After the rose arbor and cliffs and waterfalls, it was time for an Edwardian silhouette at an Edwardian forest. Six different shades of Chanel appeared on double-breasted silhouettes— collarless tweed jackets and coats with feather detailing. Kaia Berger, the supermodel of the hour, ruled the runway in young-esque outfits evoking the charm of the early 1980’s. It is a cozy collection, fully wearable unlike the plastic vision for Spring 2018. Floor-length coats, tights, brogues paired with thick scarfs in shades of gray wrapped over head give off a Little Red Riding Hood feel. To-the-ankle coats and nubby knits provide comfort when worn with flat footwear. To ensure much need balance, Lagerfeld introduced edgy accessories such as the pink fingerless gloves, tulle skirts, large earrings and quilted leather handbags.
Is Lagerfeld lost in a forest or simply lost in a forest of metaphors for something nouveau in fashion? Either way, he still manages to surprise. A walk in the forest for the show finale was equally impressing as the pieces he presented. Cotton canvas, luxuruous knits, corduroy and much-expected tweed were modernized to portray the autumnal utopia. Subtle shades of orange, brown, russet and pine green illustrate the warmth of each piece designed. This just might be the most ingenious collection for Chanel, yet the most compelling one.
Photo credit: The Impression