Show Report

Show Report: Chanel A/W 16 Womenswear

by Lucy Norris on 11 March 2016

Lucy Norris reports on the Chanel A/W 16 womenswear show.

Lucy Norris reports on the Chanel A/W 16 womenswear show.

With 3000 people seated inside the Grand Palais - all with their own front row place - the Chanel catwalk this season was half a mile long. Needless to say, the models' final exit needed to take a shorter route - so they just walked in single file through the middle of the venue. People came out of their sections to stand and watch. Even though we had all had the opportunity to see every piece up close, we wanted to see them again.

The 94 looks at the show served to tell us of Chanel's ruling position in fashion - for today, yesterday and tomorrow. Karl Lagerfeld is always insistent that he never looks at the past but this is rather a tired marketing gambit that he expects us still to believe. Anna Wintour has been often heard saying the same. For in terms of fear of not being seen as constantly facing the future, Lagerfeld need not worry. Fashion would really not be fashion without Chanel. Yes - sometimes it feels like an out of step juggernaut, but with today’s straight forward show production it gave us beauty and style in untold measures. Lagerfeld may shy away from the past, but a brand that has such a history would find it unavoidable to rework old ground. In truth, a lot of it felt like freshened up vintage - in a good way. The opening section in hot pink and denim reminded one of that eighties Chanel ad campaign of Linda Evangelista and Chrissy Turlington kicking about a football. Going forward, section after section, it felt like one was diving into a Tumblr page of archetypal Chanel gorgeousness. Down the rabbit hole - this was the kind of show that had a never ending dream like quality. Structuring a show of this size and magnitude is no mean feat. It flowed beautifully, and was testament to the omnipresent world of Chanel.

The laden jewellery was unapologetically hyper-Coco. Girls wore swags of pearls around their necks - and wrists sparkled in diamond and crystal camellia style bracelets. Lots of latticing saw interconnected panels of tweed or leather as a key construction motif for jackets and knee length boots. Another key construction - which felt younger - was a decon-recon jumper scarf. Worn open at the back, and layered over jackets, it looked like it was made for the street. That dusty notion of wearing a tied jumper around your shoulders just got a serious overhaul. It looked great. Eyelets were a big deal here also, and looked strong smattered across knitwear. They added a graphic touch, as did jaunty zig-zag sequin dresses. The waist was often dropped - a black cracked vinyl skirt in this shape looked punkish. Further shine came from watery metallic fabric prints, which created gold and silver floral skirts and blouses.

Anyone who wants confirmation that minimalism is over - not that Lagerfeld ever partook - need look to the designer's love for a Jacobean jabot, which reappeared alongside voluminous, romantic sleeved blouses. One incredible fusion saw a dusky silk blouse cut into the shape of a hoodie. Its huge sleeves peeped out from beneath the cuffs of a jacket and its hood sat on the back like a medieval princess. One of the standout pieces was a cream quilted coat - in the style of an Elizabethan doublet. An amazing pink matt leather quilted coat that looked like it had been 3D printed was also a winner. By the time that the metallic feathered skirts, frothy chiffon dresses and tiers of cream taffeta flou had arrived, we were in DNA Chanel territory. In a season where the future seems to be the past - as it so often is - Chanel will always be found in the then, now and next.



Live Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion: Chanel A/W 16 Haute Couture

05 July 2016
Lou Stoppard, Paula Reed, Deborah Milner, Judith Found and Dal Chodha discuss the Chanel haute couture A/W 16 collection and a selection of broader subjects.
Show Report

Show Report: Chanel A/W 13 Womenswear

05 March 2013
Kiki Georgiou reports on the Chanel A/W 13 womenswear show.
Show Report

Show Report: Chanel S/S 13 Womenswear

02 October 2012
Stephanie LaCava reports on the Chanel S/S 13 womenswear show.
Back to top