Black and white and chic all over, CHANEL.
Review by Sarah Mower, Vogue
Who wouldn’t kill to be at the C-side right now? Karl Lagerfeld’s invitation to a tropical beach, complete with fake waves, gave Chanel’s global audience an uplifting mini break. For all the insane illusionary grandeur of the set, it was a show of real and relatable fashion—a blissfully easy trip bringing us back to the heart of Parisian chic.
Shoes kicked off, Chanel’s models reminded us of the central question in fashion that has gone adrift in these confusing times: Who would you like to be? Gazillions of women will testify an answer in chorus: a carefree French girl, please.
SPRING-SUMMER 2019 COLLECTION
Lagerfeld’s show sur la plage reconnected us with all the solutions that Coco Chanel first invented to boost female social confidence. There has been a lot of avant-garde-ish discussion about designing around bourgeois classics this season—beige, ladylike suits; silk dresses; chain bags; logos. Mademoiselle Chanel had a hand in writing those rules. Lagerfeld—who keeps young people around him constantly—intuited exactly how to work that to full advantage.
The show observed Chanel through the enthusiastic lens of a girl who loves stealing her mother’s oversize ’80s tweed jackets, suits, cropped cashmere sweaters, and quilted chain bags. Talk about athleisure and the newly arrived trend for leggings and cycling-slash-scuba shorts? Ha! Karl Lagerfeld first took Chanel to the surf in 1991 with his scuba-and-tweed collection. Yes, it made waves.
Don’t mention it to him now, though. His mission is keeping Chanel in a permanently relevant present. Double quilted bags. Little A-line dresses with Chanel-chain straps. Fabulous Provençal raw-edge straw hats. Is it all pop culture marketing? When the section of lemon-colored silk dresses constructed with micro pleating and inserts of Chantilly lace breezed through, clearly not.
Asked if he was thinking of reprising that reference, Lagerfeld responded with a classic zinger: “When did you say that was, the ’90s? I wasn’t born!”
Hilarious riposte. There’s a school of thought—dwindling—that fashion doesn’t need to be deeply meaningful. It doesn’t, just as long as it’s this well-made—and this amount of fun.