Karl Lagerfeld was one of the few high-profile designers notably absent from Raf Simons’ Christian Dior debut, but looking at how he staged Chanel’s couture show in the Grand Palais, his absence seems to be of a valid reason. While Simons redefined haute couture in the Dior house with his minimalist designs, Lagerfeld solidified the age-old concept behind it—absolute extravagance. The collection, dubbed as the “New Vintage,” plays around the designer’s idea that one can also look forward to what would be the vintage of the future, instead of constantly gazing back at fashion archives.
Although the theme seems to toy around two contradictions, Lagerfeld sent a collection that was easy to grasp. The designer began by opening up the tweed fabric into the future as they were tailored in geometric patchwork or fitted with ethereal chiffon cuffs. While the first few looks were quite expected from the designer, the collection soon took on a more stylized and flamboyant-yet-elegant affair as it progressed into true privileged glamour with a bevy of crystal-embellished pieces leading the way.
Majority of the silhouettes were decidedly rooted in the past, as models evoked the refinement of women during the 1940s, 50s and 60s on the runway. As such, they didn’t walk but rather glided through the majestic venue in double-breasted jackets, snug skirts and slim skirts. From the chiffon-heavy shoulders on a sequined dress to a sheer feather-adorned top, it was clear that Lagerfeld also brought the intricacy and romance of decades past into the new era. Lagerfeld impeccably showed off his layering prowess as well, giving texture and body to the otherwise soft chiffon dresses that dominated the tail-end of the show.
Hints of modernity were also injected by cinching the waist with silver belts and exploring sensuality with side cutouts. Lagerfeld also dressed the models’ arms with Victorian era-inspired cuffs—only they were of a futuristic finish. Meanwhile, the color palette was a welcome hodgepodge of creamy pastel pinks, somber grays and sophisticated blacks. The diverse palette also offered a surprising burst of glitz. One silver sequined dress, for instance, looked particularly stunning with its pink-streaked neckline, cuffs and hemline.
While the entire collection has been true to Lagerfeld’s innovative aesthetics, the designer saved the best for last. Like an image ripped off the pages of a storybook, Lindsey Wixson emerged from the runway in a stunning icy white ball gown that was superbly breathtaking. Simply put, it was haute couture at its most genuine.
Photos from iMAXtree.com/Alessandro Lucioni