A makeshift gallery was set up in the Grand Palais, the walls lined with Chanel-inspired art. There was a robot made out of a life-sized Chanel No. 5 bottle. A massive slingshot crafted out of colorful Chanel tweed. A super-sized double-C emblem made from hundreds of pearls. A giant little black dress constructed in wrought iron. And an enormous metal bucket piled to the brim with the brand’s classic gold chain.
I could go on, but the clothes deserve some space as well. For his spring effort, Karl Lagerfeld brought gallery girls to the street. Tweed skirt suits came in candy colors and subtle ’50s silhouettes—there were drop waist jumper-dresses, too, that had a playful feeling. A set of traditional Chanel jackets were decorated with square-neon paillettes that gave them a scenester edge, while a group of painterly-printed looks reminded me of grade school art class.
Some of the strongest numbers, though, were the sportiest. Loose leather trousers, worn with sweaters tied around the waist and over the shoulders, came seemingly out of nowhere for a fresh effect.
Lagerfeld carried that sporty-street look over to the fantastic accessories. Oversized pearls were attached to the ends of an open-front choker, reminiscent of a set of headphones. School-girl knee-high socks were attached to the low pumps. And the brand’s famous Lego-like bag made a return appearance—there were graffitied totes, too.
Lagerfeld has a great sense of humor, and his work is finest when he brings more than a little irreverence into his collections. He did that today, and it made for one of the most exciting, memorable shows I’ve ever seen.