Chanel’s high-profile couture on the virtual banks of the Seine
“High profile, everything raised up. You can close and open everything and there is a miniskirt underneath,” smiled Karl Lagerfeld, referring to half the looks, backstage after a rather ravishing Chanel couture show staged in the Grand Palais on Tuesday morning.
The giant space reimagined as the banks of the Seine, with bouquinistes' stands, lampposts and a backdrop of the Institut de France, the towering classical building that contains the Academie Francaise.
“Couture is French and it has to be in Paris. And, I see the Quai Voltaire from my windows. It is one of the most beautiful buildings in Paris, right by my home,” said Lagerfeld, who lives 200 yards away.
He opened with refined looks all in a gray that matched the stonewalls of the Seine, long coats and redingotes with opened tulip sleeves – all made in anthracite wools or smooth satins. He cut a fresh new Chanel suit with boyish lapel, and ankle-length skirts slit up to the hip. Everything paired with neat little booties in soft light gray calf, dark tweed or dazzling silver. For evening, Karl worked in acres of silver too, seen as chunky trim to cocktails, sexy bolero jackets and bustiers; a dramatic cable wool silver skirt and a few stunning pointy pagoda-shoulder evening dresses that will look amazing on red carpets.
Before the traditional couture ending of a wedding dress, this time worn by a black model, only the second time a person of color has achieved that distinction at Chanel, since Alek Wek 15 years ago.
A true Stakhanovite, Karl is already working on the next collections, including cruise.
“But we not are going to call it Cruise anymore, oh no! We will call it Voyage. Because, quite frankly, cruise is so démodé, so unfashionable. Imagine travelling around with 5,000 people. How awful, and certainly not luxury,” sniffed Karl.
Even before the show had begun, Chanel announced that it had named Penelope Cruz as its latest ambassador. Cruz will be the Égerie of Chanel’s cruise collection. Note: Chanel now has more fashion ambassadors than the United Nations: including Kristen Stewart, Lily Rose Depp, Keira Knightley and Marine Vacth.
The show was the first show by the house since Chanel unexpectedly revealed its precise financial figures for the first time last month, showing that the house scored a remarkable $9.623 billion in 2017 annual turnover.
Why now, FashionNetwork.com asked Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and accessories at Chanel? “Why not? We are quite proud of what we do,” he replied.
Asked about a recent report in the New York Times suggesting that Chanel released the figures in part to discourage any possible bid by the giant French conglomerate LVMH, Pavlovsky responded: “That is BS.”
And no one has played a bigger role in Chanel’s success than the workaholic Lagerfeld. Incredibly this octogenarian will stage two different couture collections this week in Paris. His night job is Fendi Couture on Wednesday evening.
Still, Lagerfeld finds time to be the world’s greatest pet lover, at least of his own white cat Choupette,
“I hate to go back home when Choupette is not in the apartment,” confessed Lagerfeld, after flipping through scores of photos of Choupette with two gushing French editors. The German couturier confessed to having 15,000 photos of his beloved cat.
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