Into the woods for Chanel A/W 18! Every season, Chanel transforms the Grand Palais, and this year we were transported into Karl Lagerfeld’s Narnia, into a grand leafy forest with spindly trees and mossy speckles. A rebuttal to haute couture’s floral pink Palais garden perhaps.
This collection certainly felt darker, a little melancholic, but there was also a calm. It may be the kicking of the leaves as the models walked, the smell of damp moss that hung in the air, or the long-line black coats in velvety textures that felt both soothing and sombre. The shoes and boots, in glittering mottled gold, seemed to morph and merge with the golden leaves around them, and the wide length mirrors at either end of the runway highlighted the glitter in tights, metallic trouser, A-line skirt, and pearlescent earring.
It must be said that more often than not Chanel can be a tad repetitive in its offerings but something had shifted for this season. Wide leg trouser, doubled-up bags, initial chain necklaces and Chanel puffer jackets felt like a move for the youthful shopper. Lagerfeld has never been one to bow to trends but those slightly over-sized tweed puffers are a surefire move toward the modern. Is this the beginnings of a new Chanel we are seeing? The cobalt blue hoodie under jacket certainly seemed to be a step toward the new, albeit a small shift for the grand house.
The casting at this Chanel show seemed incredibly young; the majority of the models looked under 18 years old. Odd, that a brand so affiliated with the older shopper - tweed boucle suits, Chanel 2.5 handbags - is presenting its classic tropes on a young-adult aesthetic. Perhaps that’s why Lagerfeld does it. Do clothes that are pre-perceived to be for the older shopper, immediately feel younger or fresher on a virgin-faced model?
Regardless, this collection had an air of serenity, a cold breath on an icy day. While not everyone will be draped in Chanel on their next winter walk, the concept of a walk amongst the autumn leaves is certainly more relatable than previous Chanel offerings; Robots, Rockets etc. One felt urged to indulge in a Double C foldover bag, or leaf print high-neck coat for their next stroll through London’s parks.