Natural settings have taken centre stage of fashion seasons late – who could forget the 400,000 delphiniums that sent fashion bloggers’ lenses into overdrive and (no doubt) hay fever sufferers into hibernation? But the zen landscape of the Chanel haute couture show this morning had a more contemporary and sleek approach. Clad in timber slats, the Grand Designs-worthy set stood proud overlooking luscious green and perfectly clipped lawns through which the geometric runway paced. Creative mastermind Karl Largerfeld was evidently in a green thinking space whilst onlookers were green with envy as a stream of bouclé-attired models paraded pieces that are guaranteed to be some of the most coveted of the season amongst those moving in the right sartorial circles (those with couture-worthy budgets of course).
2015 saw the retrospective exhibition of Coco Chanel come to London and the Saatchi gallery was transformed with a recreation of her Parisian salon. So it was a fitting way for Lagerfeld at the helm of the Chanel brand to baptise the coming year – with a celebration of classic shapes and silhouettes whilst embracing a sustainable and modern outlook. Surely the two are a match made in heaven? Designs so classic and beautiful that their timeless nature (one that is able to transcend trends, seasons, and even decades) allow them to be recycled year after year as a means of defying the reputation of wastefulness and throwaway fashion that the industry and 21st century has come to represent. As someone who tends only to wear grey, black, white, navy and khaki/beige it was also a comfort to see a collection that worked with shades as pared back as the woody and simple surrounding. Earthy tones of putty, oat and tawny owl met classic notes of navy, all of which were elevated with Lagerfeld’s signature use of texture and sparkle.
Straight skirts fell at mid-calf length (Victoria Beckham will have to fight Lagerfeld for the rights to the shin-skimming style of which they are both masters) and were cut either close to the hips or in wide sweeping styles that exuded elegance. The signature tweed jackets were respun into bomber jacket silhouettes as well as classic tailored shapes which sported exaggerated collars – a nod, perhaps, to the man himself. No Chanel show would be complete without some beautiful accessories and the diamanté-emblazoned bags were no exception. Dazzling they were worn slung low on the hips, too exquisite though for even the whisper of the prefix ‘bum’ or ‘saddle’ these shimmering pockets are something else.
Eveningwear also shone brightly – its glittery constellations striking a chord against the sharp, architectural Japanese house backdrop. Swathes of ebony silk clung around models’ legs (luckily thanks to pattern-cutting excellence rather than static) and were partnered with semi-sheer cardigans trimmed with silver thread and twinkling buttons. At the opposite end of the colour spectrum, shades of oyster, milk and white made for a slinky offering of cocktail dresses with megawatt embellishment, appearing as bejewelled chainmail from afar, the intricacies of its crunchy texture on apparent on closer inspection.
As the Chanel Couture show approached its finale the front of the timber house lifted to reveal Lagerfeld’s rich offering, all set in a series of boxes like an advent calendar. Behind the doors of all good advent calendars sit delicious treats, each, however, rationed to just one a day. How was Lagerfeld’s advent calendar different? His precious delights weren’t rationed – feast your eyes on them all at once and tuck right in! You could say that Christmas has come early (11 months early to be precise).