Chanel Spring/Summer 2016 Haute Couture Show

Karl Lagerfeld created his own perfect eco system this morning, transforming the Grand Palais into an energy efficient zone where a modernist wooden house was positioned in the middle of sprawling manicured lawn surrounded by trees and a lily pond. There were even swarms of midges circling which had show-goers speculating that Karl had even orchestrated that. Quite possibly. If you’re wondering what saving energy has to do with a lavish production of this scale, and haute couture – a world where your own G4 is the preferred mode of transport – all I can offer is that these are clothes intended for a lifetime; the absolute antithesis of fast fashion. And then Cara Delevingne walked out with Leo, her excitable puppy – so excitable she had to scoop him up in her arms and walk him to her seat while he licked her face – and everyone soon forgot about why Karl had decided to go green. Moments after Leo was escorted off again, backstage, the wooden slats opened and models meandered their way around Chanel’s garden.

It was a celebration of nature, which gave rise to a bucolic springtime wardrobe, comprising a lot of beige. “Gabrielle Chanel was the queen of beige,” declared Lagerfeld, whose palette ran from straw and sand to putty, taupe and hessian. The focus was on the Chanel suit, which featured neat fitted jackets with oval sleeves partnered with skirts of varying silhouettes, from strict and midi length pencils to full skirts and breezy, wide culottes.

Pleated dresses were feather fine, while even woolly, natural coloured tweed skirts – where fragments of shaved wood was woven in – looked lightweight, with hemlines splaying into full fringes. That nod to nature extended into night-time hours too, a dress had sleeves embroidered with feathered bees, others boasted wooden birds, and of course petal appliques abounded. But the most magnificent arrived with capes that were painted and embellished in twinkling rhinestones.

And so to the finishing touches: crystal dragonflies, bees, and other bugs posed as brooches, shoes took the shape of a satin two-tone ballet pump atop a cork wedge and waists were accessorised with a chicer version of a bum bag – Chanel called it a smartphone pouch, because even an eco-girl needs to stay connected. Oh, and a note on the timber set, the house promises to recycle it.

Sarah Harris

Chanel Spring/Summer 2016 Haute Couture Show


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