For Fall 2017 Couture, Chanel’s legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld achieved two mighty feats. First, his presentation flaunted the intense craftsmanship of the legendary Chanel ateliers – from the painstaking bespoke beadwork and rare tweeds of Maison Lesage to the collection’s covey of feathers courtesy of Maison Lemarié. Second, he created a loving homage to the City of Lights by faithfully reconstructing an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower in the center of the Grand Palais and brilliantly mirroring its flared silhouette through the Chanel Fall 2017 Couture collection.
The show adhered to its traditional layout: tweedy daywear out first followed by an onslaught of imaginative eveningwear. This time, the tweeds were thick and sumptuous, woven by hand from an array of sunset hues and sophisticated neutrals. The silhouette of Chanel’s tweed line-up was both bulky and streamlined, featuring wide sloping sleeves, stiff stand-up collars, and sculpted waistlines. Accompanied by tweed or sequin boater hats, these looks both recalled Parisian styles in the era of Coco Chanel’s reign and appeared as beacons of timeless style. Be it 1940 or 2040, these Chanel looks will stand the test of time.
Chanel’s powerful display of artistry and sartorial craftsmanship was a vivid reminder of how much the brand has contributed to fashion’s lexicon.
Dazzle and enchantment was provided by the latter portion of the show, which paid homage to the French artist who founded the abstract art movement called “Orphism”, Sonia Delaunay. Delaunay’s signature orbs were translated into eveningwear as multi-colored raised textures comprised of metallic thread, sequins, and crystals. These eye-catching “orbs” clustered around the hemline of skirts, encircled the wrist, or glommed onto shoulders and necklines creating 3-dimensional textures.
There were also interesting fine mesh dresses in the mix covered with quilted seams and micro-beaded accents that resembled delicate pearls caught in a fisherman’s net, while other looks depicted maximal sleeve overlays pricked with long bugle beads. Other silk frocks were engineered with wrapped fabric fronts, presenting the female form in sculptural terms where the waist is whittled to a point and the bottom half of the look flares out dramatically, in imitation of the Eiffel Tower’s iconic silhouette. Chanel’s powerful display of artistry and sartorial craftsmanship was a vivid reminder of how much the brand has contributed to fashion’s lexicon.
It is worth mentioning at this point that Lagerfeld envisioned his Eiffel Tower centerpiece months before he found out that he was to be awarded the city’s greatest honor, La Médaille Grand Vermeil de la Ville de Paris. As a result, when the mayor of Paris came to the show to bestow the award upon him, Lagerfeld had unwittingly constructed the most perfect backdrop – but he’s always been eerily prescient with these kinds of things.