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Chanel Presents Futuristic Utopia

By Jessica Michault

chanel showUpon entering the bombed-out post apocalyptic theater that doubled for the Chanel haute couture set this season, a little frisson of unease ran up the spine.

After all, some of the seats in the audience had been reduced to rubble; would a load barring concrete column be next? Did this ruined space mean that designer Karl Lagerfeld was in a deconstructive design mood?

When the velvet curtains finally pulled apart there was an almost audible sigh of relief when the stage backdrop revealed a gleaming futuristic utopia shimmering in the distance. Ahhh, so this was a collection about what women will wear in a brave new fashion world. One where square top hairdos and glittering headbands worn across the back of the head are de reigueur and wide low slug belts are a must.

The stellar collection was shown at a furious clip, with models coming up and down all of the theater isles in quick succession. It made for a bit of fashion whiplash that left an overall impression of the designer’s chosen silhouettes (boxy tweed jackets, tunic tops worn with thigh high boots, squared off hats that framed the head and drop waist evening gowns).

But the pace frustratingly left little time to appreciate the out of this world workmanship on display. There were so many different, complex and compelling ideas being sent down the multiple mini runways that it became impossible to take them all in. At some point you just had to let the craftsmanship wash over you and enjoy the ride.

Lagerfeld’s vision of the future is a glittering and geometric one. From the textural tweed pieces shot through with metallic thread that opened the show to gowns crafted with organza embellished with a mosaic of sequins, covered in small origami-like folds of tulle squares, or built from holographic fabrics, each look was a celebration of the talents of the house’s petite mains.

An undeniably Art Deco influence could be felt in both the color palette which was dominated by grey, sliver, black and white (with just a touch of navy and rose) but also in the geometric nature of the collection. Which helped give the ensembles some recognizable and reassuring roots.

If this is the future of fashion, then it is looking very bright indeed.