When Karl Lagerfeld takes over the Grand Palais for any Chanel show, you know you are guaranteed to be impressed – and none more so than the pièce de résistance of collections, haute couture. Today (26 January 2016) was no exception, and everything from the FROW to the show for spring 2016 was laden with points of interest and Instragrammable charm.
None more so than former runway favourite Cara Delevingne arriving with her dog Leo to join the likes of Carine Roitfeld and Diane Kruger on the front row. As well as accessorising with her puppy, Cara was layered up in sheer embroidered Chanel with classic interlocking C studs. Kruger was sporting the incredible lace tights seen on the models at the Metiers D'Arts show in Rome, which would have been ruined if Leo had gotten too close. However, despite having the best seat in the house for a spell, the excitable puppy was taken backstage before the show commenced.
Never one to be predictable, Lagerfeld and his Chanelves had transformed the regal Palais setting in a bright, airy Norwegian-style garden, warmly sunlit and perfectly minimal right down to the neatly trimmed lawn. The Eco nature of the setting was perhaps a little dichotomous given the lavish surroundings but the sleek simplicity of the scene was both impressive and relaxing with the feature resembling a large wooden sculpture that opened up to reveal a three tier Modernist dollhouse.
The Chanel dolls that appeared were the usual favourites: Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and sister Bella formed part of the vast 73 looks that complemented and accompanied the setting perfectly.
A light palette reflected the pale tones in the polished wood with silks, infinite beading and embellishment in straw, hessian and biscuit shades. Delicately layered wooden panelled sequins sat like feathers on the layered column dress worn by Gigi that was paired with a glittering lurex cape, an item that really became the hero piece of the collection.
There was a distinct return to the Chanel suit, nostalgic nautical navy and ivory tone were woven into signature bouclé tweed skirt suits but updated with blown out sleeves that stood out amongst diaphanous silk gowns glittering with innumerable irridescent beads.
The natural world was woven into every facet of the collection with jewelled insect motifs everywhere, from the earrings to delicate brooches perching upon the neatly wrapped couture bun bags as well as wild, floral prints woven into the fabric of the collection.
The hair, to some, appeared to be an homage to Princess Leia, but when viewed from the back you could see why Sam McKnight had dubbed his style the 'Chanel croissant'. A voluminous and perfectly unwrapped bun that twisted behind the head. McKnight also noted that the inspiration came from a Picasso sculpture that also inspired the artistic ancient Egyptian-like eyeliner that enveloped the eyes of the models.
Head-to-toe each model matched as each walked out in the same curved heel cork wedge with a round toe in varying shades, which given the botanical setting this was probably the safest option also.
While Kendall Jenner was unmissable in a cascading jewelled ebony-lace gown, she was not this year's bride: Mica Arganaraz had the honour of closing the show in a textured embellished column dress that paired a long, embroidered train with an equally dramatic blush-toned bomber jacket – a truly modern-day bride.
With Chanel's couture designs, Lagerfeld never ceases to reinvigorate the faith even the regular fashion follower has in the importance of such a lavish and unattainable collection. The intricate detail, unequivocal talent and, most importantly, time that is given to each piece makes this so much more than clothing. Like most great art, it is certain that next to no one is going to own these pieces, but their existence seems justified as they are not simply for one season, but forever.