Every season, under the watchful eye of Mademoiselle ‘Coco’ Chanel, models descended a winding staircase in Chanel’s fully-mirrored atelier at Rue Cambon. They lined the steps in smart tweed suits and darling pillbox hats, stealing glances at themselves as they stepped down into the foyer below where an eager press awaited next season’s styles. In the present day, Karl Lagerfeld paid homage to this iconic scene with one of his own for Chanel Spring 2017 Couture: a mirrored runway that displayed each exquisite look from prismatic angles. This move signaled a return to true glamour, providing the kind of awe-inspiring couture moments that make clients line up for fittings.
Encoded in this collection is the spirit of Coco herself, beginning with the traditional tweed looks that hewed very closely to the originals, complete with crushed tweed hats, metallic belts, and ladylike Mary Janes. Lagerfeld’s imprint was likewise found as the show progressed, proven by the modernity of tailoring an ivory safari jacket with poet’s sleeves and layering it over a shellacked metallic sequin shift. Other moments of radical beauty included a seriously jaw-dropping pantsuit covered in a dense array of beaded sunbursts, a precious tiered frock flecked with foiled appliqués, and a delicate off-shoulder dress with distinct windowpane cut-outs.
It was almost too beautiful, especially as each eye-popping angle could be seen in the reflection of the mirrored runway.
Every coruscated, glittering, textured surface spoke to the extraordinary talent of Chanel’s couture ateliers, but the show-stoppers hadn’t even arrived yet. When they did, they caused a sensation. Breathtaking metallic gowns appeared, each trimmed with enormous puffs of marabou feathers. The rounded shapes of the feathery trim offset the clinging silhouette of Lagerfeld’s dresses, creating an enticing silhouette. It was almost too beautiful, especially as each eye-popping angle could be seen in the reflection of the mirrored runway. As if that weren’t enough, the show closed on a densely ruffled, voluminous pink gown worn by Chanel-muse and “It” girl, Lily Rose-Depp. Even the most hardline tomboy can’t help but fall for the unapologetic femininity and pristine glamour of this collection.