VIP guests at Paris Fashion Week left the urban bustle at the door on Tuesday as they entered Paris’ Grand Palais to discover a giant indoor forest complete with dewy scents and rustling dry leaves at Chanel’s spectacular ode to autumn.
Designer Karl Lagerfeld crowned the autumn-winter shows on its final day with his oak and poplar forest — a welcome breath of fresh air for fatigued fashionistas as they reached the finish line after viewing over 70 collections during the week.
CHANEL’S AUTUMNAL MUSING
An autumnal palette in the clothes mirrored the oak leaves and green moss that covered the floor at the Grand Palais salon.
Green, black, beige, gray, russet evoked the months of decay, contrasting with sections of sky blue. Huge statement scarfs in vermilion and saffron added a touch of seasonal humour.
Fuzzy leaf motifs — such as beech, oak, sycamore — were used decoratively on oval or A-line coats that glimmered with metallic thread. Wide coppery pants had a sheen that evoked morning dew.
History is never far from Chanel, the storied maison founded in 1910. The fashions of that era were softly referenced in a series of fully covered gowns in rich fabric with high Edwardian collars, fastidious embellishments and myriad jewellery.
A fur cape in brown and gray with an imposing triangular silhouette looked Russian and imperial.
Front row guest Keira Knightley cut a chic colour contrast in her purple flared Chanel midi-dress.
LOUIS VUITTON’S LOUVRE SPECTACLE
Statues of grotesque wild boar were lit in dappled light as fierce wolf statues spewed water from gnarling jaws.
Louis Vuitton this season opened up one of the most secret courtyards of the Louvre to guests who included actor Jaden Smith and actresses Sophie Turner. Emma Stone, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Connelly and Sienna Miller.
The former royal palace is one of the world’s biggest, yet still has vast areas little-known to the public. Louis Vuitton — France’s most lucrative fashion brand — boasts unrivalled access to Paris’ most sacrosanct sites.
An undulating baroque staircase merged with the catwalk to showcase designer Nicolas Ghesquiere’s autumn-winter designs.
Yet despite the buildup, Vuitton’s collection made scant reference to the special venues.
Decoration or emphasis on the upper chest was a big theme in the disparate decorative styles that revamped ethnic, sportswear and military styles in a contemporary way.
There were statement collars in contrasting colours, gowns with truncated lattice capes around the bust and tops with chest stripes. A freedom defined many of the upper silhouettes.
A sharply cut tuxedo was worn loosely around the shoulder, sleeves limp. And a knee-length silk dress in horizontal sections fluttered by unstructured in the evening breeze.
The lack of referencing to the historic venue was a missed creative opportunity.
But Ghesquiere may have wanted the beautifully executed clothes to make their own dramatic statement.