Fashion month has become as much about the tech as it is about the clothes. If a show isn't broadcast across our screens, did it even happen? So a Chanel show, centred around the data universe, was inevitable.
The greatest irony of ironies is that as I tried to take a selfie against the wall of computer processors lining the runway rebranded the 'Data Center Chanel,' my iPhone ran out of data storage. It was too full of all the images, Boomerangs, and Hyperlapse videos I've been taking all month long. And the thing was overheating.
So I deleted pictures as swiftly as I had taken them. And to be honest, that's what fashion feels like right now — moments and trends that happen and then disappear as quickly as the flick of a scroll, images cleared out to make room for more. But Karl Lagerfeld's set was not all that it seemed — all of that machinery, and the two robots dressed in tweed that opened the show, were meant to be a reminder of the power of the human touch. 'In an ultra-technological world where daily life is increasingly dematerialised, Karl Lagerfeld puts humans back at the centre of everything by making "Intimate technology" the theme of his collection,' the press notes explained.
Chanel is a house built on more than a century of looks and one of the best ateliers in the world. There's heritage there. And so with the exception of the bags, which lit up and flickered like old school computer screens, the tech theme stopped just short of the clothes, which included a mix of youthful and grown-up updates on the house's iconic tweed suit (an option for a woman of every age) worn over lace-trimmed silk slips and shorts and styled with baseball caps.
It was all a bit of a mash-up of references and eras — very Back to the Future by way of an Eighties B-girl's wardrobe and her mother's lingerie drawer. But what the clothes, particularly the extensive line-up of tweed, did communicate was the power of Chanel and its team of unbeatable craftswomen and men. 'Without the human hand, without delicacy and savoir-faire, nothing would be possible,' the press notes read. 'After all don't two robots wearing two Chanel suits thus prove, perhaps, that more than any technological breakthrough, it is femininity that truly transcends time?'
These clothes felt much less like a social media moment (not counting the line-up of top models including Arizona Muse, Edie Campbell, and Lindsey Wixon) and more like a reminder that this house doesn't necessarily have to rely on the changing whims of likes and reposts. It's got a century's worth of archives and history, the ultimate data storage, to future-proof it.