There is no one quite like Karl Lagerfeld. Where other designers are content for their models to strut down perfectly conventional catwalks, Kaiser Karl always takes it to the next level. Each season, he transforms the Grand Palais in Paris into a great theatrical set, with no detail overlooked (nor expense spared). To me, the shows always feel as though they’re a little piece of Coco Chanel’s imagination, manifested in larger-than-life reality. Within the space, Karl creates a complete fantasy world, echoing the iconography that goes straight to the heart of Chanel.
Yesterday’s Chanel Haute Couture show was no different. Emerging from an enormous pearl, the models walked in the shadow of a golden lion of mythical proportions. The lion is of course a Chanel icon; Coco (who was fascinated by astrology) was a leo, and the the motif could be found throughout her home and woven into her designs.
Some of my other favourite Chanel catwalk moments of recent years: the life-sized barnyard (during which Lily Allen popped out of a haystack while models rolled around in the bales); the skyscraper-sized Chanel boucle jacket; the detail-by-detail recreation of 31 Rue Cambon; the overblown models of Chanel no. 5 bottles; and my favourite, the Chanel carousel (where instead of riding horses, the models rode giant Chanel bags, shoes, jewels and camellias).
Special mention should also go to last season’s Titanic-sized iceberg (shipped in from Scandanavia that morning), the set covered entirely in oversized white origami (against which the models, in their white floral headpieces, were beautifully camouflaged), and the great black barge which Karl erected across the Yangtze River in China for the Paris-Shanghai collection.
Oh Karl, I’d happily sit in your Grand Palais wonderland any day!
What do you think of Chanel’s theatrical fashion week productions? Do you have a favourite show to watch each season?
Love, Miss B xx