Silhouettes Shape Up for Chanel
Parisian classics abound at Chanel's couture show
The setting - for today’s omni-active fashion “communicators” live transmitting back to their followers on Weibo or Instagram, the setting is at least as important as the clothes - was one of those improbably symmetrical Parisian parks. The ones where the grass is not for walking on and the gravel has been combed. This one had been constructed especially for this event, inside the Grand Palais, that vast, glass domed greenhouse of a palace that flanks the Seine.
In the centre loomed a scaled-down, but still impressive, facsimile of the Eiffel Tower, or part of it. This is the same spot where last season, a scaled down, but still impressive, space rocket was (semi) launched at the end of the show.
The second most important aspect at Chanel is the accessories: the super-brands’ bed rock. Here they included tweed and pearl button earrings, low, block heeled, tight, over the knee, or ankle boots in black patent, spliced with beige kid leather or tweed, and flat brimmed, shallow crowned hats. Anticipate demand for those boots to take off like that rocket.
Chanel shows have become a byword for money-no-object display. This, although a privately owned and very privately run company, is, we may surmise, one of the biggest in fashion. It is not in the business of economising.
And yet Karl Lagerfeld is no fool. He knows the winds are shifting. Unbridled extravagance, even when run through a filter of irony, amuses far fewer people than it did a while back. It may find those winds turn chilly quite soon.
So through this expensively produced park trooped some of the more understated outfits couture has seen lately. Dark tweeds were flecked with deep sapphire blue, or sprouted dainty purple tufts. Occasionally there were pinpricks of light - this is couture after all - when tiny speckled jewels twinkled in the undergrowth of a full tweed skirt, or a long, narrow jacket. And at night, the evening wear sprouted thousands of silk organza or velvet petals that circled hems, hips and wrists like exotic hedges.
Hips, of course, are not always the primary body part one would wish to draw attention to. But this collection was nothing if not experimental, and if the bling was toned down, the silhouettes were bold and strong.
Among them is a Lagerfeld favourite, based on an updated filter of the Belle Époque. Long, narrow tunic-jackets accompanied longer, narrow skirts. The models walked slowly, probably from necessity.
One dress, with a claret coloured silk, tube-shaped under slip and a top lattice layer interwoven with shimmering beads, narrowed into a border of airy petals at the ankles - a hobble skirt, reinterpreted, with detachable sleeves and a very 2017 set of cold shoulders.
Detachable sleeves and double sleeves (where a shorter, wider pair fitted over long, narrow ones) were a recurring theme.
So was the rounded silhouette that featured curved shoulders and hips, raglan sleeves and full skirts. It uses a lot of fabric, and in the heat of a sweltering Paris, looked quite full on. But it’s lovely - on tall willowy types.
Accessorised by those flat brimmed, shallow crowned hats, and low, block heeled patent boots, it chimed, at least in its demure mood and accentuated waists, with the mood at Monday’s Dior show. That rarely happens.
Could this be the shape of silhouettes to come?
- The Daily TelegraphShare this: