When it comes to putting on ready-to-wear runway shows for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld regularly looks to — and reproduces — far-flung locations for inspiration: A cruise on the French Rivieria, a romp through the forest, a winding path past a cliff (complete with waterfall!), a Grecian temple, even a rocket on its way to outer space.
To celebrate the craft of haute couture, however, Lagerfeld stays a little closer to home, building replicas of Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower or a garden park inside the Grand Palais. For Fall 2018, Chanel's production masterminds recreated the banks of the Seine — even though the real deal is fewer than 200m away from the Grand Palais — complete with newsstands and a replica of the Académie Française. One stand, staffed by two young boys wearing "Institut Chanel" sweatshirts, was packed with books, magazines, records and keepsake photographs all featuring Coco Chanel herself.
The collection itself was quite a bit more subdued than spring's garden party couture fantasy, which is fitting for life in the big city. The various grey tones reflected the colors of Paris in the cooler months, and everything from chic suiting to cocktail dresses was paired with simple, sleek ankle boots in various fabrics and colors — a wardrobe staple for any metropolitan woman.
The focus here was on texture play — all the better to highlight the handiwork of Chanel's expert embroiderers and embellishers. Beading and feathers popped off of black velvet, while metallic silks shimmered against grey tweeds. Sleeves were slit up the seams to reveal elbows, and in some cases, bright pops of color calling back to Chanel's Fall 2018 ready-to-wear collection. (After all, surely even couture customers want to do their version of high-low.)
See the full Chanel Couture Fall 2018 collection below: