Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld decamps to Versailles to celebrate luxury and style
For Monday night’s show, Chanel had for its venue the Le Bosquet des Trois Fontaines, a water-garden grove in the grounds of Versailles, designed by Louis XIV in 1677, and only recently restored. Shown to only 200 guests (a few journalists, a smattering of celebrities including Vanessa Paradis, Tilda Swinton and Sam Taylor-Wood, and a host of its best customers from around the world), the Cruise collection is Chanel’s most theatrical show. Staged in a different spot every year, past venues include Los Angeles, Venice, and Cap d’Antibes. Its function, says Lagerfeld, is to appear as lavish as possible. “Liberty, equality, frivolity” seemed to be Chanel’s message, as the models walked out in casual, often mannish clothes, but with tweed dripping rivulets of lace and flower-strewn jackets with portrait necklines. There was plenty of attitude in platform sneakers and circular straw hats that were matched by big panniers on a knickerbocker skirt. It was a feast of embellishment, although, at its calmest, the Chanel show had the serene beauty of the surrounding classic statues, as when a dress with the skirt standing away from the body was sculptured with pleats. The Cruise season, which arrives in stores at the end of fall (and is also known as Resort), has become an essential addition to the fashion industry calendar, providing a segue into spring, as well as lighter wardrobe options for those who winter in balmy, beachside locales.