Season after season, the Chanel Haute Couture runway shows embody everything a fashion insider expects from high couture and more.
First was the front cover, which featured a sketch of blue sky and white cloud within the oval outline of an aeroplane window.
Second were the seat numbers: Daphne Guinness was in 10D, Cameron Diaz in 12C, and Vanessa Paradis in 16F.
Captured in his photos are the hidden faces of Europe’s high-fashion stars from Yves Saint Laurent to Karl Lagerfeld, from Thierry Mugler to Christian Lacroix _ and many more.
With a rudderless Dior currently sleepwalking through the seasons and most haute couture salons seemingly content to produce beautiful but rather po-faced homages to couture workmanship, Chanel is the unrivalled hot ticket of the schedule.
Last season’s set was a neon facsimile of the Place Vendôus, complete with Coco’s statue on a plinth.
Lagerfeld’s challenge is to keep making his audience forget the show they pronounced unforgettable six months ago.
The audience were welcomed aboard at the entrance of the Grand Palais and led through a fake airport terminal of articulated metal corridors into the interior of a jumbo jet, complete with airline seating, low-level lighting and blue skies visible through the small windows.
Instead of gilt chairs with calligraphed labels, there were slender airline style seats with electronic numbering, either side of a wide aisle.
Champagne was served from a trolley wheeled along a carpet dotted with a discreet double-C logo.
It was sheer coincidence, however, that there was a Metropolis feel to the set for today’s Chanel haute couture show.
The first dress of the show was an idealised vision of a chic, early 1960s flight attendant.
An immaculate boucle sheath dress, with a wide boat-shaped neckline and dropped waist, it came in a shade of baby blue that would look saccharine if the outline were not so simple.
And true to form, the second outfit to emerge was a dress in royal blue wool, simply cut but for a subtle padding of the cap sleeves, which lent a hint of Star Trek.
Lagerfeld’s flight of fancy took the legend of a golden age of travel as a starting point for a journey which then headed into the future.
The rolling white clouds screened through the windows morphed into a dark, starry sky – and before long, into an image of the earth as seen from outer space.
As the show went on, the models’ mohicans became ever more extravagantly gravity-defying; the texture of the clothes shifted from classic boucle tweed into glitter-threaded denim to suggest a starry sky, and then into layers of opalescent pebbles that resembled a moonscape.
Throughout, the silhouette was lean and curveless, with straight up-and-down dresses whose wide necklines almost matched the width at the hips.
Not to forget, designer Donatella Versace’s line for H&M grabbed eyeballs for its haute couture meets high street look.
With Donatella Versace making a high-profile return to the haute couture fold this week on the back of her successful H&M line, the exclusive couture world has declared pricetag snobbery to be very 2011.
Reuters – Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld dazzled the fashion world on Tuesday with a rare nighttime presentation of his fall-winter haute couture collection that conjured up all the magic of a walk through starlit Paris.
Pip Digiovanna is a fashion journalist based in Milan, Italy. Pip has a passion for fashion stories and loves writing about fashion news and fashion opinions that matters most to its audience. Pip spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest fashion industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on Stylerchic.com.