Sweetness and light finally reach the Paris catwalks
‘Because wind and air are the lightest things in the world,’ said Karl Lagerfeld after today’s Chanel show, amid a torrent of fans that included Kanye West, smiling to reveal his diamond and gold mouth grill. Jennifer Lopez and daughter, at that point, still hemmed in by a wall of paparazzi.
This was a wind-powered Chanel, quite literally. The magnificent Grand Palais, the stadium-sized venue, with its glass roof exposed, flooding in the light, and 13 wind turbines gently rotating, couldn’t have sent a clearer message about what the fashion god is feeling right now: Let there be light, but let there be optimism, femininity and grace, too.
It was a welcome antidote to the darkness of last night’s Saint Laurent and a convincing cleanser to all the stark minimalism of the season so far. To the strains of Chromatics, (take note: the American electronic band on Karl’s current iPod favourites), perched high above the enormous bank of catwalk photographers at one end of the palace, models (possibly 80 of them, it seemed, in the finale line up) stepped out at the other, on a mock blue solar-panelled floor.
First out, pearls. Pea-sized when scattered across a white skirt suit or a strapless cream sheath, golf-ball sized when arranged in choker necklaces or as buttons running down the front of the new jacket shape – a mini jacket, cropped under the bust with short wide sleeves.
Lightness came through the colour: The prettiest of pastel shaded twinsets - the mini jacket worn over fit and flare dresses trimmed in crisp white - or the energy of those modern looking thick-rib knit suits with rounded sleeves and short straight skirts that came in punchy red and blue, plain or checked.
If this was all familiar Chanel territory, so what? When things this divinely pretty present themselves, nobody is complaining. What did look new, however, was the lack of a logo. Typically Lagerfeld likes to sprinkle it like confetti over his clothes, over everything. It appeared once: as a large white cutout on a sheer black/print mesh swimsuit. The model wearing it also carried a bag – essentially an enormous white quilted leather clutch in a hoola hoop. And on her feet, the new Chanel shoes: a chunky striped block wedge with criss-cross straps at the ankle – the kind of shoe a serious fashion blogger would kill for. Other accessories, aside from the mini-clutch in green Perspex, were the hats, with supersized brims, also in Perspex, carried not worn.
But if any clothes could be described as fresh air, it was the evening wear section of the finest black organza where hems in buoyant shredded leaves floated by. Lagerfeld ended with the most optimistic dresses of the season: sylph-like strapless white columns with pale sequinned flowers creeping up them.
Pure, sweetness and light.