What the audience witnessed at the Grand Palais on March 7th 2017 wasn’t just a tour-de-force. It was an incredible demonstration of power and creativity, and an exceptional fashion moment that will go down in history as the most epic runway show ever. It will not be equalled, let alone be topped because let’s face it, who will ever be able to match Karl Lagerfeld’s CHANEL – except for Karl himself?
There are now only two internationally known institutions able to launch a spaceship successfully while the rest of the world stands in awe. One of them is NASA, and the other one is CHANEL – sort of, kind of. While NASA focuses on finding new Earth-like planets and organises scientific travels to study the solar system and its components, Karl Lagerfeld of course worries more about what women will wear in the outer space. Fair enough, that’s his job.
In the 1960s, Karl Lagerfeld was not terribly impressed by Space Age fashion unlike designers like Pierre Cardin, Paco Rabanne, and André Courreges who obsessed with showing extravagant futuristic shapes on their catwalks. The difference between the popular sixties movement and the CHANEL ready-to-wear autumn winter 2017/18 collection is credibility. The collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld has nothing gimmicky – it’s not ridicule either. As much as the thematic revolved around the future, the clothes were realistic.
Of course, the CHANEL tweeds, as iconic as the CHANEL No. 5 fragrance, were upgraded to jackets with matching culottes and Bermuda shorts, worn with sparkly bi-colour knee-high boots – next season’s best-seller footwear for sure. The neckline was similar to those found on astronauts’ suits, circular and rigid. There were mohair jackets and wool coats that were just exquisite. Both the womenswear and the menswear exuded excellence in both craft and inventiveness. For instance, there was a sheepskin-sleeved and silver leather belted coat that was outrageously dazzling.
What also caught our eye, in all their CHANEL glory, were the knitwear pieces in lurex, trimmed macramé, and adorned with pearls. They were the proof that fabulous glittery day-wear is a thing promoted by the Rue Cambon. A playful hoodie had men-in-astronaut-suits printed, something that will appeal to the brand’s younger clients. The same print was found on fluid chiffon dresses for the grown-ups. The latter will indulge thanks to the eveningwear offering. Indeed, Lagerfeld went all in with embellishment that looked like constellation of the night sky from Earth, and a little bit of feather trimming here and there.
As for accessories: tweed bags, headbands with embroidered pearls, silver fingerless gloves, satellite clutch bags, reflective sunglasses, and handwarmers to carry around the neck will become CHANEL devotees’ playthings next winter.
Overall, Karl Lagerfeld’s silhouette with strong shoulders and fitted waists inserts itself well in the zeitgeist, giving women strength without forgetting femininity. But after seeing this spectacle, the only question one could ask is: What else could possibly be next?