3D : that’s what, enigmatically, was printed over the Chanel invite, sparking all kinds of speculation about the set design that Karl Lagerfeld and his gang of faithful creative accomplices (Michel Gaubert, Loïc Prigent, Mademoiselle Agnès…) would have prepared for the couture show. Virtual reality? A hyper real movie? Maybe a hologram of Coco? The Kaiser has gotten us used to such extravagant mises en scène that nothing seemed like too much. Yet guests arrived at the Grand Palais on Tuesday morning to discover Le Cercle Privé: a casino décor. Complete with roulette tables, (little) black jacks and slot machines giving away silver camellias. Then the guests sat down and the gambling floor emptied up… Until someone tentatively walked in and sat at a table. It was no model, but actress Kristen Stewart. She was promptly joined by an array of Karl’s all-time muses: Geraldine Chaplin, Vanessa Paradis with her daughter Lily Rose Depp, Stella Tennant, Lara Stone, Rita Ora… even Julianne Moore. All of them, wearing custom Chanel, started to gamble. At the same time, social media was burning not only with Instagram pictures of Moore, but also with comments criticizing Chanel’s decision to build a casino in times of such economic turmoil in the Eurozone and Greece. Frivolous? Indeed, but so were the ‘feminist’ demonstration and the supermarket we witnessed in previous seasons. And, after all, Coco Chanel never shied away from frivolity. In 1932, at the height of the Depression in Europe, she presented her only ever collection of fine jewellery. Its feather and bow motifs in diamonds and gold became emblems for the maison, but they were also immensely criticized by their disconnection with socioeconomic reality. At Tueday’s show, some of those jewels were recreated to decorate key pieces.
The enigmatic ‘3D’ from the invite was not missing from the collection, though: it was a reference to 3D printing, which Lagerfeld used to give a 21st century twist to the very iconic 20th century tweed jacket. A touch of futurism reflected in the models’ strict, slightly clonic hairstyle and in their robot-like makeup. Classic matelassé and tweed ensembles eventually made way for puffier skirts and bigger, more graphic jackets. There were Blade Runner-esque military details and eighties touches, contrasted by softer-looking dresses in pearl and acqua green but also in richer shades of teal, scarlet and midnight blue. And, of course, black. Artistry was remarkable as usual (the Kaiser has also gotten us used to the very best of Parisian ateliers), especially visible on a shredded white-and-gold lace button-up coat and a cake-like voluminous skirt paired with a black patent leather fitted jacket. The petites robes noires came in all kinds of variations (transparent chiffon, feather-covered, entirely sequined, complete with metal details…) Kendall Jenner closed the show, looking pristine as a futuristic, if slightly gloomy, bride. She, like the rest of the collection, was no gamble.