Long Nguyen is the co-founder/style director of Flaunt.
PARIS–Walking up a small steel circular staircase to one of the halls inside the Grand Palais on Tuesday morning to the Chanel couture show, none of us had any idea that after passing through a long silver corridor we would be inside an exact replica of an A380 (business class, of course). Unlike the many spectacular settings at previous Chanel couture shows–the Place Vendôme or the giant golden lion–this time the audience became part of the set. There were even flight attendants serving a choice of water, mango juice and champagne.
The setting (complete with a skylight with blue sky and clouds above) emphasized a spring couture collection imbued with the feeling of lightness. Each model walked by with both hands tucked nonchalantly into the small pockets seams–a new attitude in couture. And that’s no easy feat–to convey a sense of lightness and even casualness while wearing beaded and embroidered couture clothes. We tend to think of couture overly designed, heavy–pieces that are great on the runway or in a magazine editorial but unrealistic for today’s women. Not so at this show.
In keeping with the strict weight limits for checked luggage on flights these days (always a little humor from Mr. Lagerfeld), even the embroidery work on the evening dresses seemed a lot lighter than in previous seasons. The feeling of lightness was helped by blue mood lighting around the plane windows and streaming through the skylight, which served to emphasize the completely blue palette of the collection.
The embroideries were as subtle as they were sophisticated. They demonstrated the work of the skilled craftspeople at the métiers d’arts like the embroider Lesage and the jeweler Goosens–all part of the greater Chanel family. I quite like the layered petal dress made with blue/grey beads with grey/black trims. It’s the kind of dress I could see the actress Vanessa Paradis (seated in 15E I believe) wearing.
In this show, the evening dresses were not burdened with overwrought decorations. The bride’s outfit was an off-white long sleeve dress with greyish blue embroidery details and a small tulle train that resembled wings.
At Chanel, couture is a real and a viable business of selling clothes and not a mere marketing effort. Over 20 day looks opened the show. In its current incarnation, the Chanel tweed suit had a high cuffed neckline, larger shoulders, and a skirt cut just above the knee in light ice blue. The coat-dress with black buttons has a collar spread neckline and the sheath patch pocket dress has lace trim around the neck and is paired with a puff sleeved coat also in light ice blue. You get the point.