Karl Lagerfeld has brought Chanel’s VIP customers to experience the street culture of Havana, the heart of K-Pop in Seoul, and into a 1001 night kind of experience in Dubai to showcase his vision for the house’s cruise collections. But Lagerfeld has come home. For the presentation of Chanel cruise 2017/2018 collection, he prefers Galerie Courbe at Grand Palais. Such a choice of landmark must have made Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, happy. She, after all, advised Parisian designers to show at home in the name of tourism.
But ancient Greece was the underlying theme of the collection. Guests sat among 11 pillars and Greek ruins, their feet touched crackly, sandy ground. Overall, the area was a make-believe of a 20th-century Greek architecture milestones that are being consumed by years.
Such spirit also translates to the collection. Supple draping and elegant, fluid lines shape a silhouette in tweed and jersey, silk and linen, lace and crepe. Raw fringe mingles with precious embroidery, column-heeled gladiators elevate the traditional Greek sandal, and Olympic laurels become head ornaments while sautoirs, bracelets and golden cuffs adorn the neck and arms. Chanel’s Gabrielle bag mixes leather with knitted owl or antique vase motifs, or appears in marbled leather.
Yet Lagerfeld insisted, on the show note, that he did not merely copy the antique aesthetic. “Reality is of no interest to me. I use what I like. My Greece is an idea,” he said.
Antiquity meets modern fashion mythology in draped jersey tops, long skirts, and wide, fluid sun-pleated trousers and jumpsuits in black, white and beige or terracotta and gold. Fringed, unlined pale or ocher tweed is fashioned into ample crossover coats and zipped shepherdess dresses belted with a gold-ringed cord. The simplicity of linen dresses is elevated with embroideries of multi-colored stones. The realm of mythology is ever-present: Greek goddesses appear in dresses literally sculpted, in immaculate crepe, their marked waists embroidered entirely in sequins that emulate marble.
Another highlight from the show is, naturally, the high-profile front row lineup. Attending the show is brand ambassadresses Keira Knightley, Anna Mouglalis, Caroline de Maigret, Ellie Bamber and Clotilde Hesme, the young American actress Yara Shahidi, the French actresses Isabelle Huppert and Marine Vacth among others.