To think that anyone attends Chanel shows solely for the chic duds, celebrity-sightings and opportunity to steal a few Chanel-labeled groceries is simply naïve. For Karl Lagerfeld, every runway is a spectacle—a theatrical performance entirely unto itself. It’s the luxurious excessiveness and his willingness to execute an idea down to the very last detail that draws crowds. At yesterday’s Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2015 show in Paris, Lagerfeld decorated the set with 300 mechanical flowers in a science-fiction paradise that combined the beauty of artificial flora with the cold futurism of machinery.
Enshrined in a glass cage, the show began with three straw hat-topped gardeners that, with a sprinkling of “water” from a double-C emblazoned watering can, started the mechanical movements. What began as a colorless void began to spring to life. Each of the 300 flowers had their own motor and slowly opened or sprouted as the show began, revealing vibrant shades of red, blue, yellow, pink and green. Soon the runway was a vivid haze and models, donned in matching colorways, marched onto the scene.
In a delicate balance between ‘70s and ‘90s silhouettes, models sported miniskirts, long-sleeved, bell-shaped blazers and large, tulle-trimmed hats that kept their faces hidden. Shapes were loose and comfortable, designed for wear rather than artistic self-indulgence. And while Lagerfeld has been known to dabble in both, he’s always been adamant that he designs for reality. And this collection was indeed nestled safely between both form and function. Beanies (designed to rigorous couture standards, of course) gave ladylike pieces a modern, tomboy twist. “From the street,” Lagerfeld told WWD. “I see everybody wearing them, so I thought I should make a couture version.”
But beanies weren’t the only pieces to get a couture upgrade. Flat ankle boots, belts and even Chanel’s iconic tweed suits were all subjected to a glittery makeover. Adorned with camellia appliqués and hand-sewn sequins, even the most professional of suits were brought up to a new level of luxury. Evening wear ranged from netted grunge (again pulling from the streets) to three-dimensional floral gowns. Many pieces, eveningwear or otherwise, left little to the imagination with midriff cuts and bandeau tops. “The stomach is free. It’s the new cleavage,” Lagerfeld announced during a backstage preview. You heard it straight from the Kaiser—belly buttons are the new black.