Karl Lagerfeld’s autumn-inspired storyboard produced a collection that channelled inimitable French elegance.
As a child, creative director Karl Lagerfeld lived in the countryside on an estate surrounded by rows of trees. Could this au naturel environment have in part, served as inspiration for Chanel’s grandiose forest show set?
“I’ve always loved autumn. This is a kind of Indian summer, with all the leaves. It’s a beautiful mood,” cited the 85-year old designer in an online review. These climate nuances were also reiterated in the show notes to support Lagerfeld’s love for the splendid season — think barren trees, blue skies, a warm sun…
The magnificent runway set further sealed Lagerfeld’s fall vision. Paris’ Grand Palais, the venue which the French house always picks to stage most of its fashion collections was transformed into a colossal forest clearing filled with actual fallen leaves. Surrounding the space was a photographic backdrop of barren forest trees. The entire effect of this imposing setup truly created an illusion of being lost in the middle of the woods — magical.
A long and lean Edwardian silhouette was used to unravel the modernity and versatility of Lagerfeld’s collection. Starting off with a series of slender black coats, Lagerfeld used tactile touches to add a lavish interest to these classic outfit toppers.
There were fabrics with shiny, woven and woolly textures, as well as design details of oversized pockets and pegged sleeves to add three-dimensional appeal. Feather embellishments on shoulders, elbows, cuffs and hems also added a trompe l’oeil peplum effect and not to mention, the subtlety of dressiness, too.
Paler shades were also interspersed into Lagerfeld’s dark and shadowy mix, in addition to artsy woven tweeds and a botanical print that came in two colour renditions: A soothing watercolour-esque variety vs an alternative in the form of burnished metallics in green, bronze, red and gold.
The slim-cut maxi look segued into a couple of twin-set styles, which coherently underscored the collection’s neat and narrow silhouette. Fashioned in stylish tweeds, they offered a grown-up luxe appeal, which looked both refined and consummate.
The skirt suit is a Chanel staple, likewise, with the use of tweed to create this revered signature. Lagerfeld showed several options for skirt lengths: Hiking them up to the thigh, lowering them to the knees, as well as delicately skimming the calves (for chic modesty).
Jacket hemlines, too, enhanced Lagerfeld’s narrow and streamlined silhouette — the longer the skirt, the shorter the jacket and vice versa. There were also kerchief-style hemlines on jackets, which further lent the illusion of an elongated bodice/shape
Lagerfeld made note to include Coco Chanel’s love for masculine dressing as well.
Apart from a series of mannish floor-length coats, he offered a small capsule of tailored trouser ensembles, which kept the collection’s column-style silhouette in check. Jackets were cut long and ended at mid-thigh, similar to the skirt suits.
Paired with flared trousers, these pantsuit looks were languid, androgynous and über chic. Some were styled with shorter coats and teamed with the matching cropped pants but still looked good enough to be worn on its own or as classic coat dresses.
The collection did offer a series of coat dresses, which Lagerfeld paired with opaque black or chevron patterned tights. There was an after-dark appeal with some of these pieces, especially the versions designed to mimic oversized tuxedo jackets. Cut roomy and straight (and sometimes with a subtle kick of a peplum flare), they too followed the collection’s predominantly long and lean silhouette.
Black was the designer’s colour of choice for the collection’s evening looks. Tiered layers and low-waist details ingeniously drew the eye to each gown’s elongated silhouette, in addition to other design details/decorative trims, which also lent the illusion of length, such as a neck bow with extra-long ribbon tails on a halter-cut lace gown.
Past and Present
Part of Lagerfeld’s collection saw a throwback into the decadent Seventies and Eighties. A series of gypsy-inspired dresses with billowing sleeves and low-waist details channelled an unexpected boho insouciance that was unusual for the brand. Elsewhere, there were pussycat bow blouses paired with maxi A-line skirts or culottes that looked a little too conservative, rather than cool. Juxtaposing this hippie mood was a small collection of brown fur looks that felt part 80s glam squad, part ghetto fabulous.
Chanel is renowned for its iconic Little Black Jacket but this season, Lagerfeld has created a brand new style that could easily be christened the Little Down Jacket. Crafted in the image and likeness of a puffer jacket, one of the most coveted styles came in the form of a white quilted boxy four-pocket jacket, complete with signature tweed trims and fancy “CC” buttons.
A new bag, called 31, has joined the brand’s stable of must-have bags. Named after the unit number of the brand’s infamous rue Cambon store in Paris, the spacious carrier comes in what else, but a functional shopper style.
Available in supple fabrications of quilted and smooth leather, printed cotton canvas or tweed, the bag can — apart from being toted around using its cut-out handles, or worn cross-body on its sling straps — be also folded over and tucked under the arm as a giant clutch.
Other bag hits within the collection include the 11.12 bag (formerly known as the Classic Flap or 2.55 bag) and the Gabrielle. Both styles were offered the “bling” treatment — the former adorned with rhinestones to mimic a tree bark pattern, while the latter in a metallic gold leather rendition.
A couple of drool-worthy and sparkly evening styles were thrown into the fancy mix. Case in point: a resin and blush/pink strass camellia flower, as well as a classic python clutch complete with silver-tone and strass embellished chain.
What is a Chanel collection without all its precious baubles and knick knacks? Lagerfeld went big on earrings (literally!) and even embraced the youthful appeal of mismatched styles. There were sautoir necklaces aplenty, likewise with bangles, bracelets and everything in between.
Shoes were sensible and flat with the standout style being a stylish boot that boasted a burnished gold patina.
A collection and show impressive as ever, as the line-up of celebrities in presence: