Fashion Bytes: Chanel Walks on Water at Paris Fashion Week
Photos by Indigital Images
Welcome to Fashion Bytes, a cheat sheet for your favorite runway designers. From style inspirations to behind-the-scenes scoops, here’s everything worth knowing at Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018.
The brand: Chanel
The history: Iconoclast Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s now-iconic tweed suits and little black dresses were a revolution in the 1920s. Her black-and-white palette and borrowed-from-the-boys designs rebelled against the restrictive dress codes of the previous century by introducing society women to the elegance and comfort of simplicity. She remains the most internationally identifiable name in high fashion.
The designer: Karl Lagerfeld became artistic director and designer for Chanel in 1983. After his first show at Rue Cambon, Lagerfeld lamented, “Once upon a time Chanel was old hat. It was only Parisian doctors’ wives who still wore it. Nobody wanted it, it was hopeless.” Indeed, the German reinvented the house by carefully referencing Coco Chanel’s classic constructions (pearl strands, quilted leather, linked Cs, cap-toe pumps) through the lens of popular culture.
The show: Not one for subtle stagecraft, Lagerfeld’s past runways have featured faux supermarkets, rockets, airports, casinos and even an Eiffel Tower in Paris’s Grand Palais. For spring 2018, Chanel channeled the drama of nature, constructing an indoor waterfall complete with rock cliffs and a boardwalk. Resembling glass cases, pellucid rain gear (bucket hats, capes, ponchos, Wellies, even gloves) was paired with colorful tweeds and silks as the models traversed the scene like fashionable tourists at Niagara Falls. Lurex fringe, Perspex accessories and clear plastic coverings wryly contrasted with the artificial/natural landscape. The clothes were best when ruffles cascaded, netting hung like mist and crystals glinted, emulating water’s elemental properties.
The F-row: Model mom Cindy Crawford sat with fashion photog Patrick Demarchelier, Chanel ambassadors Vanessa Paradis and Caroline de Maigret, and Korean pop star G-Dragon.
The verdict: There’s a lot to love for Chanel groupies, including many new handbag styles (glass-like minaudières, pouches with armbands) and luxury Lagerfeld options to protect your garb.