At Chanel's last Haute Couture presentation in July, the French house, not exactly known for its subtlety, custom-built a replica of the Eiffel Tower within its traditional show venue of the Grand Palais. It being such a literal tribute to designer Karl Lagerfeld's adopted hometown, the already swirling rumor mill surrounding his retirement kicked into high gear. The same happened ahead of Chanel's 2018 Métiers d'Art show in Hamburg, Lagerfeld's birthplace. And while as of this moment Lagerfeld is still very much employed, the tweedy elephant in the room and across the internet remains palpable.
Such was the case at Chanel's delightful Spring 2018 Haute Couture runway show in Paris on Tuesday. This time, Lagerfeld traded in his Eiffel Tower for something admittedly more intimate: a fanciful garden setting, complete with a bubbling fountain, rows and rows of elaborately constructed trellises and about 10,000 (or more) English garden roses. No functional rockets here.
The clothes fit the bill. Tweed separates marched down the runway in a parade of new, sweet and aesthetically satisfying colors; the most noteworthy accessories took the form of transparent ankle boots with lucite heels, some of which were even adorned with dainty rose detailing (like the pair worn by Kaia Gerber in her couture debut, above). Of course, a series of shimmery, red carpet-worthy gowns in sequins, tulle, feathers and metallic-tinged ballet pink were the collection's true standouts. In case showgoers forgot the show's theme, or ignored the mock flower bed in which they were sitting, floral embellishments were never too far out of sight, appearing atop headbands and in the center of empire waists.
The morning's events were proof that Chanel need not erect a life-sized waterfall to prove its grandeur. Sometimes it's as simple as selling the fantasy of a secret garden — and a really beautiful tea dress. We thank Lagerfeld for that.
See Chanel's full Spring 2018 Haute Couture collection in the gallery below.