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Today in Paris, Chanel charmed an audience full of guests at its Mediterranean villa—an exquisite set housed inside its mainstay fashion week location, the Grand Palais, that evoked 18th-century design. This period, known as designer Karl Lagerfeld’s favorite, was referenced in the way foliage lined the body of water, in the way French savoir-faire jumped from garments, and in the way the Spring/Summer 2019 collection moved on the runway.
Sweet hues of blush pink and prairie green was mixed between iridescent gold and silver, and special embroidered and painted fabric joined others made up of lace, feathers, resin, and even ceramic. Tall, royal hair was often adorned with feathers or flowers, and down below, two main silhouettes guided the collection—long and slender, and full and flowy.
Luckily, the days of the classic Chanel tweed coat may never fizzle or fade away. We, instead, get additions. In the new collection, we gain striking reiterations, featuring new fabrics, patterns, and cuts. We also noticed an interesting new boat neckline—a wide parting held up at the shoulders, split with a rounded, hollow fold. The new shape evokes a sense of structure, leading the other garments down the body, stopping at mid-calf length.
And in 18th-century fashion, with a bit of contemporary contrast, we see white “lingerie” dresses, made of pleated chiffon, paired with a leather jacket. For the flowy silhouettes, there are ballooning dresses and skirts with pockets; details of layered frill from the waist down on just one side; skirts paired with peplum tops; and dresses with bell skirt bottoms, sectioned off in foot-long tiers to the ankle.
The true hero in the collection, though, was the intensity of the savoir-faire in the details—an incredible embodiment of patience, dedication, and artistry. There were many pieces featuring hand-painted lace, there were dresses with horizontal blind tucks that took up to 350 hours to complete, and there was a white suit entirely sequined with embroidered patterns inspired by Manufacture de Vincennes porcelain. But our favorite? A long strapless green sequined dress that shined with hand-painted ceramic flowers.
For the finale, guests held their breath to see what Lagerfeld had planned for the show’s iconic ending—always a wedding dress—and what appeared shocked and excited us all. A sparkling swimmer, as ready for the villa pool as she was for the alter, sashayed down the aisle in an embroidered cutout one-piece, beneath a silver sequined veil. As the bride dazzled through the villa in matching slides and a swim cap, it was hard not to feel her contagious confidence—the opposite of cold feet, in love and in style.