PFW SS16: Chanel

Karl Lagerfeld never does things by halves, and his ready-to-wear Chanel runways are as anticipated for their film-set locations as they are the clothing itself. This week’s SS16 show took us to Chanel Airlines,  where – on presentation of a valid boarding pass (show ticket) – guests were seated in terminal 2C for what would be one of the house’s most triumphant collections of recent seasons.
The collection’s globe-trotting concept allowed for a huge breadth of sub-themes – a very clever move, considering the label’s generation-spanning appeal. The question is – where are these pieces headed? The checked suit, strictly cut and void of detailing,  is an easy one – a house classic, destined for the boardroom. The pretty tweed skirt-suit? That’s another classic, but one for lunching in. (Chanel ladies always lunch.) The structured knit sweater and floral-print jeans? This one’s trickier. Shopping, in Paris perhaps? As for the crystal-encrusted, tulle-skirted dresses, those are clearly earmarked for Cannes. Finally, the paintbox-print co-ord sets, teamed with a backwards baseball cap and landing-strip light-up sandals? You’ll find those on the streets of New York – keep your eyes peeled come AW16.
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There’s a risk, however, with staging such an awe-inspiring show. Amidst the grand spectacle of it all, the celebs, shimmer, and supreme selfie ops, there’s a risk of losing sight of the finer details. Peer closely at those spectacular Instagram snaps and you’ll find the remarkable workmanship that runs through Lagerfeld’s veins. Once the excitement calms, it’s the glittering artisanal embellishment, razor-sharp cuts, and precise finishes that will linger, cementing the house’s reputation as the long-standing mother of fashion month.
But for all the time-honoured wonder, a contemporary Chanel show would be nothing without the quirks. Those charming airplane brooches, space-age silver flight gloves, and waist-cinching seatbelts offer an easy route into the collection, all loaded with need-it-now appeal.
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Finally, what’s a Chanel show without a season-defining beauty look? This season’s was particularly clever. The wash of cornflower-blue, powdered softly over the eyes is sure to conceal jet-lag shadows.  Quaffed the bubbles during your long-haul? Better upgrade to those supersized mirrored aviators.
by Roberta Lister

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