What’s it gonna be? That’s the only question on showgoers’ minds when the season’s Chanel invitation arrives. Last fall, Karl Lagerfeld’s backdrop was that now-famous supermarché. This past spring, the designer built a grand boulevard and filled it with feminist protestors.
For fall 2015, Lagerfeld sat his models — including Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner and Joan Smalls — down at Brasserie Chanel. The stadium seating at the Grande Palais was transformed into leather-covered booths, the front row facing tables covered in white linen. Several bars had been erected throughout the space, serving espresso and orange juice, as well as a bit of champagne and food. Once we took our seats, the models came marching out, each parking herself at a different booth or two-top. Waiters glided around, taking orders while Lagerfeld’s ladies and gentlemen made fashion-show small talk.
Lagerfeld called it the “French Collection,” and told Vogue International’s Suzy Menkes he used shoes designed by Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel for the first time this season. The slingback, cap-toe, square-heel style had a sensible appeal that nicely complemented his origami-quilted puffer coats, sheer black cocktail dresses and buffalo check skirt suits. (He made jokey dining references with handbags, which included a quilted style dotted with tiny gold forks and knives.) With their hair pulled off the face by black headbands, morning-after black eye makeup and a casual demeanor, Karl’s girls might’ve looked French, sure — but above all, they looked chic. Finally, an appropriate use for that descriptor.