Chanel’s fall-winter 2017/18 haute couture collection is inspired by France’s capital city and its most iconic landmark
While many of the fashion houses in France and Italy seem to be foregoing the big-name designers, so as to place their brand name under the spotlight, Chanel continues to garner international appeal, thanks to the always spectacular designs of head creative director, Karl Lagerfeld.
Since he was named head of Chanel in 1983, Lagerfeld has remained at the very heart of global fashion, creating fabled collections that exude Gabrielle Chanel’s inimitable style, while embracing utter modernity.
The legendary French maison’s current fall-winter 2017/18 haute couture collection is no exception. First unveiled in July 2017, under the glass roof of the Grand Palais in Paris and below a replica of the Eiffel Tower, the haute couture range showcases graphic elegance, with clean silhouettes and sleek lines.
Lagerfeld’s silhouettes for this particular collection broadly follow one of two styles: either flared into an A shape with a narrow waist or long and gracefully tubular. The bulk of the collection is divided into daywear and eveningwear. Daytime choices, featuring mainly wool, mohair and tweed, include cropped and double-breasted jackets, tunic-like coats, jumpsuits and wraparound skirts. Some outfits are enhanced by the season’s choice hat: a 19th-century boater, reinterpreted for the contemporary woman.
As we’ve come to expect at the venerable house of Chanel, the most memorable pieces are to be found in the eveningwear line. Carefully and precisely cut dresses, made with chiffon, satin and silk tulle, sport embellishments like feathers and intricate embroidery. Short, black dresses shimmer with sequinned netting, while more voluminous gowns feature fluted tulle underskirts and peplum bustiers.
The collection also includes a stunning wedding gown, completely white and made with luxurious double-faced satin. The unique piece is enhanced with garlands of feathers that look like oversized bouquets of camellia, Chanel’s signature floral motif.
Asked about the inspiration for the collection, Lagerfeld responded by saying that it was simply Parisian style. “It’s a vision of a revived Parisian woman,” he answered. “It’s all about cut, shapes, silhouettes. Here the line is very delineated and graphic. It’s very modern.”
The Eiffel Tower itself, which served as a backdrop for the runway show, appeared to provide added inspiration for the collection, with several dresses showcasing grey hues, while recalling the shape of the landmark building and its overall ambience on a crisp winter night.
On the same day that the fall-winter 2017/18 haute couture show took place, Lagerfeld was presented with the Grand Vermeil de la Ville de Paris medal by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo; a fitting tribute to a man whose work has come to symbolise Parisian fashion.
by Stephanie Rizk
A version of this article appeared in print in Selections, Letters From The Past #43, pages 146-149.