With the new Fall 2018 Couture Collection for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld pays tribute to the literary Paris, that of book lovers and the académie française. With a rich collection that exalts the supremacy of the French capital, Lagerfeld showcased a culmination of what haute couture is all about— unexpected colors and textures, playfulness, whimsiness and a large dose of imagination. Most importantly, he showcased the magic in the art of fashion.
“I came to live here when I was 18,” Lagerfeld remembered during a fitting on the eve of the show, recalling a city still suffering from postwar neglect, with “dirty streets” and dark, unrestored buildings. “People said to my parents, ‘But he can get lost,’” he added. “My mother knew better: I had a strong survival instinct!” Karl fell in love with Paris and, eventually, the love affair endured.
A stretch of sidewalk along the Quai de Conti found itself within the Grand Palais, including the green-painted humble, wooden stalls of the bouquinistes. Here, especially to the delight of bibliophiles, tattered books and magazines were on display, all of course relating to Coco Chanel. Within this context, the audience was reminded how a seemingly ordinary street scene (on the Seine) is truly extraordinary. For this couture season, Lagerfeld introduced the “high profile” look, defined by elongated skirts that unzip to the thigh, revealing a piquant mini skirt beneath. What a luxury for couture to multi-task, allowing the wearer herself to decide on hemlines depending on occasion. Or better said, the consumer to rebel against being in a passive position in regards to design. Slender sleeves are unzipped, uncovering the linings of silk or chiffon, as well as sparkling embroidery true to form to the City of Light. As for the signature tweeds, failles were mostly cast in shades of greige, and it is interesting to note how opulence and surface-level “couture magic” found itself within the inner workings of these pieces— hidden at first glance. Perhaps with the chaos of current global events, it is simply not appropriate or tasteful to show off leaving a trail of diamonds behind. A new level of modest fashion can be interpreted by this seasons’ Chanel couture. Today, Karl Lagerfeld asks what couture should look like or do in 2018 and in the future.
Speaking of the future and fashion game-changers, the Sudanese model Adut Akech closed the show, modeling the bridal look. It is the first time, since 2008, that a non-Caucasian model closes a fashion show.
Photo credit: Vogue, The Impression, Fashionista