Beneath the glass and steel dome of the Grand Palais, an emblematic location for Chanel’s runways, Karl Lagerfeld dared to build a miniature version of the Eiffel Tower. 38 meters high, the ‘Dame de Fer’ rose up to the third floor before disappearing beneath a white cloud. Renamed the Chanel Tower just for the occasion, the piece watched over the scene like an ode to Paris, the City of Light that’s so loved by the brand’s creative director: “I’m happy to be a foreigner to see Paris with the eyes of a tourist,” the couturier confided after the runway. The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo also bestowed the city’s Grand Vermeil medal to him during the event.
On the runway, Karl Lagerfeld revived the iconic elements in Chanel’s wardrobe – tweed, hats, feathers, and cocktail dresses adorned with camellias. “This is a vision of a Parisian woman that can be reborn. It’s all a question of cuts, shapes, silhouettes. The line is very drawn and graphic here, it’s very modern,” explained Karl Lagerfeld. His Parisians do indeed incarnate the Mademoiselle herself. In entire get-ups made of tweed, Coco’s favorite fabric, the women advance with hats on their heads and with ankle boots or thigh boots buttoned up to infinity. These looks have a retro accent, but they’re never nostalgic: in this shape of pants so adored by Coco Chanel can be read all the timelessness of her lines. Shortened to correspond to the sensuality of the moment, Coco’s suit, borrowed from the Duke of Westminster, becomes even more desirable when it reveals the ankles.
The hat, one of Gabrielle Chanel’s favorites, is released in a number of variations on its original theme. Giving a wild allure to the Chanel Couture silhouette, these hats delighted the brand’s loyal followers that were present for the occasion. With Pharrell Williams, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart, Tilda Swinton, Sofia Coppola, Claudia Schiffer, and Julianne Moore, the front row has never been so full of celebrities. The collection itself also played with Coco’s taste for Great Britain. In piecing the Haute Couture collection presented this week in Paris back together, one realizes that each look corresponds to a chess piece – especially this look with rounded lines and a highly desirable simplicity.