This season, for Chanel’s haute couture S/S 18 collection, Le Grand Palais had been transformed into a delightful rose garden, delicate roses up trellis, gravel sandy path, even working fountain. The smell of fresh roses and the sound of running water. Eschewing previous novelties of past shows - space stations, shopping malls, casinos - this felt unapologetically Chanel, very French, very feminine.
This offering was stripped back, no novelties or gimmicks, the novelty this time was that there was no excessively exaggerated set - this was Chanel doing what Chanel does best. All the classic tropes returned, boucle suiting, soft pinks and pastels, knits. The press often gets a little frustrated by the lack of explicit adaptation in Chanel shows, aside from the sets, it sometimes seems that not a huge amount differs from season to season. But why alter your best selling attributes? The Chanel clientele is returning to the shapes and patterns they love and are familiar with. Point in case was the streams of clients sat in the front row, each wearing previous seasons’ Chanel couture; boater hats, trim two-pieces, glitter boots, and looking elated at the new looks. After all, it’s the clients, not the press, that will be financially contributing to the house.
That’s not to say that this collection was stale or predictable, this was cherubic, tender and inviting. Ditsy florals could be found on pleated, A-line and bell-shaped skirts, Maribou feather flounced atop shoulder and hemline. This was a big show for all ages too, poppy prints will appeal to those less interested in the pastels, Trompe-l'œil will appeal to the older woman still, as too will the dropped hem-lines and fuller skirts. There were even pockets on a large number of looks, a modern twist on tweed and beading for the girl on the go. Lower heeled boots also will be desirable for most and came hand beaded.
The finale wedding look was an all-white tux with a decadent feather train. One initially thought Chanel was trying to pull away from the cliche tropes of femininity, providing a waistcoat and bowtie amongst the frou-frou. Perhaps this was another power suit? After all, the iconic skirt-suit has been the go-to outfit for women in the city for decades, do we need a new look for the boardroom? Perhaps the Chanel waistcoat will be it. Power-dressing aside, this was a delightful and spritely, albeit quintessential, floral fantasy for Spring.