PARIS – The sky was the limit for Karl Lagerfeld, who re-created an entire airport under Paris’ Grand Palais in Chanel’s blockbuster aviation-themed show at Paris Fashion Week – just as violent protests by real-life aviation workers were taking place elsewhere in the capital.
The show caused many a dropping jaw even among Chanel’ s VIP travellers, including model Cara Delevingne, singer Vanessa Paradis and tennis star Maria Sharapova – who told The Associated Press just what she thinks of fashion’s current sportswear mania.
Here are the highlights of Tuesday’s celebrity-filled shows.
Guests couldn’t quite believe their eyes as they entered one of Lagerfeld’s most ambitious fashion shows yet.
Young Japanese fashionistas bumped in to each other to take selfies beneath a giant electronic passenger information table. Hostesses sat at check-in desks plastered in “Chanel Airlines” – with departure lounge chairs sprawling for hundreds of meters (yards).
Destinations on the board – Shanghai, Dallas, Salzburg, Dubai, Tokyo – were a showy check list of all the cities in which Chanel has recently presented collections, highlighting the global nature of one of the world’s most lucrative luxury brands.
But the show itself, bien sur, was in Terminal No. 5, a reference to the brand’s famous perfume.
“The inspiration is travel, long-distance travel to every destination,” Lagerfeld said, sipping mineral water from a silver platter.
The 95 diverse ready-to-wear looks riffed off the voyaging theme – with blue, red and white sweaters slung around shoulders, dresses printed with electronic passenger data in long, loose A-line shapes, comfy check sandals, and bejeweled Chanel suitcases that will – literally – fly off the shelves.
There were even comfy ‘70s flared jeans that Lagerfeld later acknowledged were made from exorbitantly-priced soft crepe.
“I like the idea of beautifully made clothes, used and worn like street wear,” he explained.
Some of the looks in swirling blue, white and red check suffered from their pure exuberance. But the collection had a little bit for every woman from every country in the world.
Sharapova talks sportwear
Tennis skirts and sportswear-infused silhouettes have been ubiquitous on the Paris catwalk for several seasons. So who better to comment on the mania than Sharapova?
“I’ve been to a few shows. I enjoy following fashion, and I’ve noticed this trend. Chanel has a lot of looks going down the runway with the sports influence. I love it,” she said, decked out in Chanel with a floppy hat.
“At Stella (McCartney) you saw it again – there’s so much inspiration to take away, with the pleating and all the fine details that they incorporate into tennis dresses as well,” she added.
The 28-year-old insisted she didn’t feel pressure to look good in the public eye, preferring to “look like myself and be comfortable.”
“Fashion is about being able to express your individuality. There is no right or wrong,” she said.
Kiernan Shipka’s coming out
Fifteen-year-old Kiernan Shipka is already causing waves in fashion circles.
The award-winning “Mad Men” star caused a flurry of paparazzi flashes as she arrived at the Valentino show, with some photographers unsure as to whom she was – since she’s grown up so quickly.
Shipka looked stunning in a black-and-red lace Valentino dress with shades of green, with a pink pleated skirt from the 2016 resort collection.
This won’t the last time she appears at a Paris fashion show.
Valentino hits the spot
Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli crafted a ravishing universe of decorative, high-necked gowns that seems to borrow from the Central European ethnic wardrobe.
It was one of their strongest ready-to-wear collections to date.
Clasps sensually highlighted the neck, in gowns that were either ankle-length or mini, with every detail executed perfectly. Roman sandals crisscrossed delicately up the ankle while embellished sleeves with multicolour panels and delicate fringing seemed to hark from Austria’s Tyrol region.
A flash of saffron yellow on a gown broke the dark hues that moved the fashion house in a sultry, brooding direction. A fringed black ethnic-designed coat slinked past, shimmering like oil.
Lagerfeld defended his decision to host an airline-themed show in Paris when just a few miles away union activists chanting “Naked! Naked!” ripped the suit jackets and shirts off of two Air France executives Tuesday in a violent aviation labour dispute.
“These shows are planned six months in advance… (Chanel’s) an oracle of the times, but it takes months and months and months. Not 24 hours,” he said.
Images of the shirtless Air France executives splashed around the world.
“It wasn’t very rosy for France’s image,” Lagerfeld said.
What could be more French than a baguette and cup of coffee?
That was the statement so-very-French designer Agnes B. made at the start of her rather hit-and-miss show.
It opened with a pair of models in chicly cinched floor-length white and pale blue gowns walking down the runway at once. Other offerings included black-and-white ‘60s op-art motifs on A-line dresses, vivid, psychedelic prints and a series of colour-blocking in red, yellow and Cerulean blue.
For one fashion follower, however, the timeless motto “less is more” popped into mind.