When it comes to the catwalk, Chanel’s approach might be described as borderline bombastic. Roll up, roll up for the biggest venues in Paris, the most lavish budgets, the largest army of models who march down at the end in strict finale-formation looking like the world’s most glamorous Air Force.
The massed ranks of the world’s fashion journalists are on one side of the stage and the celebrities- Keira Knightley, Carla Bruni, Vicky Krieps (star of 'The Phantom Thread')- and a host of other twinkly names carefully selected from just about every corner of the globe are seated opposite. It’s fair to say proceedings have a touch of the military rally.
Yet there was a reflective air at Tuesday morning's show. Perhaps it was the thick carpet of brown, autumnal leaves on the vast catwalk. Was there a poignant metaphor wrapped inside their slightly rotting veins? Or was it just the way they clung stubbornly to the front row’s kitten heels, skewed like shrivelled lettuce on a kebab, emitting a pungent forest aroma.
They also fluttered across jackets, coats and trousers in print-form. Some of the brighter versions looked more like wallpaper. Home furnishing prints are a bit of thing in Paris for next winter, so full marks for being on trend. The more muted variations in bronze, grey and bottle green had a pre-Raphaelite richness that worked beautifully with the high necked coats and midi dresses.
Like the polyglot that he is, Karl Lagerfeld has created a densely textured language for Chanel in the almost four decades he has been there, building on the grammar Coco Chanel left behind. This show served as the definitive Chanel dictionary and included some of the slimmest, most elegant Chanel jackets the house has produced in a long while; mismatched pearl and double C earrings (another huge trend), slender brogues that were worn with almost everything. When they weren’t, metallic over the knee boots with an impressionistic leaf print stepped into the void. They too were flat.
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Layering – yet another trend in almost every other designer collection– was executed here in some of the most skillfully compressed outfits we’ve seen anywhere. The narrowest tweed jackets, were slipped on top of slim tweed maxi coats. If you’re in the market for classic Chanel tweeds, this will be a vintage season. If you’re in the market for Lurex tights and you can’t wait until Chanel’s land, I hear Next does a good line