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Last month, Karl Lagerfeld transformed Paris’ Grand Palais into a grand, mechanical greenhouse for Chanel’s spring/summer 2015 couture presentation. The characteristically sprawling collection contained 72 looks in total, an absurd accomplishment when one considers the painstaking time and detail put into the creation of each (for the wedding dress that closed the show, the train alone took 15 workers a month to complete). If nothing else, Lagerfeld and his team are certainly prolific. It’s difficult to sum up a Chanel show in one breath; the designer manages to synthesize many ideas and influences into one collection, and the progression blooms as the models walk, this season quite literally.
The show began with new incarnations of the brand’s classic skirt suits, this season in crisp solids: Creamsicle orange, electric blue, buttery yellow, bubblegum pink, sap green, black, and white. The waists were both dropped and cropped, with little jackets revealing midriffs above low-slung skirts, which were narrow and ankle-length or A-line and knee skimming. There was an updated 1920s vibe to the styles, with matte red lips and black mesh veils, paired with embellished beanies that looked more like cloches worn as they were with office-friendly offerings. Gradually, the solids morphed into the brand’s classic tweeds, which were unraveling at the cuffs and hems, creating multicolored, fluffy fringe.
Then suddenly the textures shifted again, this time to airy chiffons punctuated by opaque piping details, and the palate turned decidedly to black. It was an architectural, feminine goth moment in the middle of an otherwise bright and springy show. And then, came the flowers: incredibly detailed floral appliques in tulle, leather, organza and rhodoid applied en masse to sleeves and hemlines and peppered by beads and sequins. It was a fusion of 1980s excess, 1920s sleek, and early 2000s midriff-baring. A standout look involved a crop-top in all-over applique with blooms in all the hues that opened the show, worn with a delicately pleated sap-green, ankle-skimming skirt worn low on the hips with a narrow black belt and flat, black shoe-boots.
The presentation finished with the token wedding dress, which was actually a sequined, A-line shirt worn with sheer elbow gloves, a cloud-like wide-brimmed hat, and a skirt made entirely of white and pale pink flowers. Quite the finale, but then, how could we expect anything less?