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Chanel Creates the Most Instagram-able Fashion Month Spectacle of All

Welcome to Chanel Airlines.
The finale at Chanel's spring 2016 show. Photo: Imaxtree

The finale at Chanel's spring 2016 show. Photo: Imaxtree

Over the past few seasons, the industry has seriously taken stock of the effect Instagram is having on fashion — not just in the seat placements of "influencers" or the casting of social media savvy models, or the creation of Instagram-friendly sets and finales at runway shows, but on the designs themselves. For some designers, the imperative to make clothes that translate well on Instagram has resulted in collections focused on flash and imagery, rather than form and detail.

But Chanel has been creating the most Instagram-friendly ready-to-wear shows for several years now, building hugely immersive sets — recently, Karl Lagerfeld has transformed the Grand Palais into a Chanel-branded brasserie, a boulevard stormed by feminist protestors and a supermarché — and, for the off-seasons, whisking off friends of the label to photogenic locales spanning from Salzburg to Seoul.

On Tuesday morning, the Grand Palais was transformed into a Chanel-style airline terminal – dubbed Aeroport Paris Cambon — and even the most jaded editors wandered about with a wondering smile at the world Lagerfeld had conceived for the brand's spring 2016 show. (Lagerfeld has run with this theme before — his cruise 2008 show took place at a hangar in Santa Monica, and his spring 2012 couture show was staged inside a makeshift plane.) A departures board listed destinations where Chanel has recently showed, including Shanghai and Dallas; men and women in navy and red uniforms handed out show notes at a Chanel Airlines check-in kiosk; and sky-blue clouds were seemingly visible from the arc of windows that encompassed the space. There were also airport lounge chairs arranged in rows around the kiosk, where Lagerfeld favorites Hudson Kroenig, Cara Delevingne, Annie Clarke (aka St. Vincent), Eva Chen, Carine Roitfeld, Olivier Zahm and a handful of other high-profile editors and industry vets were seated. 

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Photo: Imaxtree

Photo: Imaxtree

The show officially began when Edie Campbell stepped out in a tweed pastel check jumpsuit that looked plenty comfortable for travel, wheeling a black and neon quilted carry-on suitcase, a matching satchel and small cross-body bag, her eyes dusted in blue-grey eyeshadow. Other models, clearly off on business trips, were more smartly dressed in wool and tweed skirt suits in graphic patterns, and colorful knit dresses; more casual travelers came decked in knit tees and pants, silver-studded flat sandals and baseball caps worn backwards; the young, cosmopolitan set wore dresses and skirts covered in a profusion of bright digital prints and confetti-like ruffles; and private jet types wore dimensional dresses with full skirts and crystal-embroidered bodices. Many of the models wheeled luggage, or stopped by the check-in desks, creating a whirring scene of chic. With more than 90 looks in the show, there was something for every kind of Chanel customer, whatever her point of departure.

After the chorus of models made their finale turn, Lagerfeld came out to take his bow, giving Delevingne a hug before the crowd and leading both her and Kroenig in a orchestrated lap before the cameras. Show moments don't get more Instagram-able than that.