The Chanel show has gone beyond just the occasion of presenting a collection; it's a cultural event that draws a fair share of hard-core fans. Outside the Grand Palais this morning in Paris, it was a surreal scene of Chanel devotees, done up in head-to-toe Chanel outfits, coming out in honor of the iconic house. It was like a costume party in the front, with a whole other kind of scene by the backstage entrance on the side of the Grand Palais, where the celebrity attendees entered — French beauties like Inès de la Fressange and Lou Doillon looked laid-back and classic, while Jennifer Lopez almost caused a photographers' stampede as she entered with boyfriend Casper.
Then, there was the dramatic setting. Nearly full-size wind turbines had been set up inside the glass-domed Grand Palais, with a runway that looked like solar panels, leading us to expect an airy collection with a futuristic vibe — but don't think spaceships; think of a nicer, greener world where we've figured out solar energy and have clean air. The turbines showed up literally via appliqué on dresses and a printed knit. There was also an airiness to the sheer pieces (a huge trend for Spring) and the easy strapless column dresses, while the cropped jackets with big cocoon sleeves definitely took Chanel forward in terms of modern silhouettes. Graphic prints made an appearance, sharp and crisp on sculptural looks like an oversize top and skirt. Another trend playing out for Spring was spotted at Chanel — styling dresses over pants, and here it was also done with color, like blue on purple and pink on violet.
Accessories were a highlight. We got a sneak peek at the jewelry being made yesterday at the studio of Parisian jewelry designer Delphine-Charlotte Parmentier, who has collaborated with Chanel for years, and how exciting it was to see the piles of oversize pearl necklaces on the models. It was classic Chanel, blown up. Wide sun hats featured clear plastic brims and oversize bags that looked like gigantic discs contributed to the natural/futuristic vibe. Finally, the shoes were a winner: two-toned platform sandals that strapped around the ankle and were done in tones of black, white, and silver.
And as for the winning looks? I think it was the simplest ones — the strapless column dresses, some dotted with pearls, others with flowers, and one stunner in black with white trim. The cropped jackets will look great in the pages of the fashion magazines next season, but it's a tough silhouette to wear, while the waist-length jackets, particularly a white cocoon version with black-and-white tweed trim, would look simply perfect with skinny jeans, a tee, and classic pumps.