PARIS (AP) — Paris — the City of Light, lovelocks and the Seine River— was the backdrop Tuesday in Chanel’s sublime couture collection that showed designer Karl Lagerfeld is still at the top of his game at 84.
Penelope Cruz, Pharrell Williams and Lily Allen applauded after the cinematic runway display in which the French fashion house painstaking recreated a Parisian cityscape — all inside the nave of the Grand Palais.
No detail was spared: from the padlocks on the famed Pont des Arts bridge to the surrounding riverside booksellers (with Chanel-themed literature), to thick city stones and the majestic domed French Academy.
But this fall-winter season, couture was the true star of the show. Here are some highlights from Tuesday’s collections.
CHANEL’S PARISIAN HEIGHTS
Mirroring the nostalgic Parisian decor, Chanel’s 67 accomplished looks came in the colors of the city.
Light gray evoked zinc rooftops, almond green for historic building roofs, anthracite for roads and gold and silver — so said the program — for “reflections of the moon in the rippling Seine.”
Pinks and mauves reflected sunrise; black and deep navy, the night. White and beige captured the French capital’s annoyingly changeable weather.
The myriad interlocking crystal embroideries, meanwhile, were said to mirror cobblestones and netted tulle, embroidered with gold, evoked lovers’ padlocks on the Pont des Arts (that were famously banned by Paris authorities).
These poetical explanations were nice but unnecessary for a collection that didn’t need any gimmicks to impress. Lagerfeld raised the bar this season — and it was the inspired sleeve silhouette that did it.
Sleeves flapped and unfurled in a unique bell shape achieved thanks to an open zipper up the arm. It possessed a fresh sporty-meets-regal air.
The unfurling shape moved down the body into long split skirts with open panels at the sides, and another skirt underneath.
Folded cuff boots furthered this unfurling dynamic, as the cuff opened out of the shoe stylishly — in black, white, gray or embroidered sequins.
LILY ALLEN ON FEMALE EMPOWERMENT
British singer Lily Allen, who called Chanel’s couture “incredible” and sported new platinum tresses, also spoke about female empowerment to The Associated Press amid the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
The feminist 33-year-old said she has “impostor syndrome” regarding her fame and still finds it “hard to accept” being successful as a woman. She added: “maybe it’s a societal thing, or maybe it’s something we internalize from a young age.”
Allen also expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of online pro-women campaigns.
“There’s ‘Instagram empowerment’ and it’s not really very real … The more we become so focused on the visual aspect of women, we lose the value of everything else … it can’t be a hashtag thing,” she said. “I’d like to see more implementation of change and policy at government level.”
ALEXIS MABILLE’S ARTISTRY
It was a mixed couture bag for Alexis Mabille.
The French designer stumbled at the start of his collection with several sheer lace looks that lacked originality. But later into the 47-piece display inside the chic Salle Pleyel concert hall he really found his mojo.
Off-kilter floor-length trapeze gowns with stripes were followed by dresses that opened up or fanned out dramatically at the chest — the focal point of his best designs.
A series of tiered tulle gowns with extreme-cinched waists — one in dark vanilla and another where colors subtly blended from azure-white to butter — were the work of a true artist.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at Twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K