A Magical Celebration of Creative Ingenuity
In September, a hazy Parisian day granted us “Chanel by the Sea” a glorious spring/summer collection. On March 5th, “Chanel in the Snow” was a glittering swan song that saw Karl Lagerfeld’s final designs transport us to a magical Alpine village within the Grand Palais. On each seat rested a self-drawn illustration of Lagerfeld with Coco Chanel’s words “the beat goes on…” and following an appropriately emotive moment of silence before the show, the posthumous collection ensured that Lagerfeld’s fashion legacy would indeed, go on.
Chocolate box wooden chalets and pine trees dusted with snow ensured that a sense of Lagerfeld’s creative genius permeated the room. An unparalleled attention to detail included smoking chimneys and a request for guests to wear flat shoes, because who wants to slip in the snow during Paris fashion week?
“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”Vista, M. Kelly
In what was assumedly a last minute, but fitting tribute, Chanel in the Snow saw Cara Delevingne, one of Lagerfeld’s most celebrated muses return to the runway to open the show, after bowing out of the fashion industry several years previously. Penelope Cruz also appeared in the show.
The firsts designs were typically Chanel; skirt suits and sweeping full-length coats made from houndstooth patterns and signature tweed were paired with eccentric jewellery embellishments. Never accessory shy; contrasting wide brimmed trilby style hats were a playful nod towards a more masculine sentiment than previous Chanel designs and completed what felt like uncompromised power dressing.
Furthermore, Chanel brooches featured heavily, as did cravats, another play on masculinity. A striking pair of square-framed white sunglasses that certainly wouldn’t look out of place on the slopes were paired with ostentatiously bedazzled Chanel logo earrings whilst the now-famed Chanel chain belt bag was also seen throughout the show.
Following last March’s reboot of Chanel’s own ski line “Chanel Neige”, A/W19 seemed to move towards a decidedly more active approach to its apparel. Fitted long sleeve zip-up tops were paired with white high waisted trousers undoubtedly emulating a crisp pair of snow-intended salopettes. Ski style jumpsuits and PVC slouchy trousers further moved the collection towards the practical and in an arguably surprising move, classic puffer coats in bold colours made an appearance. Just as we thought we’d seen the last of the puffer coat, Lagerfeld reinvented it. We won’t be throwing ours out just yet.
What to wear underneath? Amongst the collection’s standout pieces – a crimson red jumper, embroidered boldly with the Chanel logo and paired with an ethereal white tiered skirt. Anna Ewers wore another of the collection’s most commanding looks; a tailored buttoned up blazer with matching black trousers complimented by a contrasting white floor-length fur coat. Half human, half Snow-Queen.
A succeeding shift towards femininity signalled a change in tone; angelic whites, subtly graceful patterns and chiffon dresses. The culmination of the show encapsulated perfectly the magic of an otherworldly winter wonderland. An eclectic mix of materials and patterns, all in the same off-white ivory worked seamlessly. Delicately draped sequin party tops were paired with cinched waist trousers and yet more puffer coats, but a series of tasteful thigh-skimming skirts took centre stage. Appropriately named by Chanel the ‘snowball skirt’, Penelope Cruz, wearing a white fluffy variant paired with a tiered delicate blouse floated down the runway carrying a singular white rose in tribute to her long-time friend. Looking every part the model of the moment, Kaia Gerber followed in a stunning structured dress composed again of a white fluffy skirt, but with a torso adorned with striking jewels. Closing the spectacle was Luna Bijl, Chanel’s most recent haute couture bride in what felt like a symbolic departure from fashion’s greatest marriage; Karl and his collections for Chanel.