The Grand Palais was the setting for the Chanel show and after the iceberg centre piece at the last Paris show and the carousel and larger than life-size hay barn with a performing Lily Allen at previous outings, we have come to expect something spectacular from this show. This time centre stage was dominated by a five storey high gold lion with it's paw grabbing a huge pearl.
We debated its significance while waiting for the show to start and for Jessica Alba to do her tour of the entire front row and get all the pictures she wanted. We did wonder if it was significant that the British press were seated just under the beast's bottom, but honestly Karl, we didn't take it personally. Blake Lively was seated next to Anna Wintour again and looked like she was fit to burst with excitement and managed even to draw a smile from the normally glacial editrix.
The start of the show was all about the classic Chanel tweed but re-worked into a new silhouette. That midi skirt trend gains traction for the winter, ladies. Karl worked a mid calf length flared skirt with a cropped jacket over mid calf, mid heeled boots. The emphasis was all about layering and proportion. Cropped jackets over tailcoats with overlapping lapels over slim shifts was typical of the play on proportion. It was common for a single look to have several component parts building up into a graduated silhouette.
Another strong message was the big rounded shoulder which was balanced with a small waist and slim knee length dress. Looks like Karl has tired of the skinny, long limbed catwalk staple and has decided to single handedly move us all on. I must say it's taken me a while to come round to the mid calf length but I am loving it this summer. It's way more womanly and sexy than something so short you can't sit down in it. If you give it a chance I guarantee you'll learn to love it too. It's also kinder to many more body shapes. Not sure I can do a rounded shoulder but I did love the puffed sleeve.
The embroideries in this collection were staggeringly lavish with shoulders of coats strewn with roses, cocktail shifts with trellis trompe l'oeil covered in climbing flowers and tulle dresses scattered with blooms. It built up into a finale of full sequinned knee length dresses that bounced light like a supernova. Note to self: fully sequinned fashion statements look cooler with Sam McKnight's tousled 'undone' hair do's. Am also loving the gold chain, coloured gem and pearl pile up on wrists that filled the lower arms left bare by cropped sleeves. I have a box full of old jewellery that I think I might just be able to mash up into a lookalike version right now.
by Paula Reed