Wednesday 5th July

| BY Jack Moss

Chanel: Couture AW17

A Chanel Haute Couture show is always one of those pinch-yourself moments, where you really do stop and think “wow, really quite lucky aren’t I?” Because each and every season we are treated to another trip into the infinite recesses of Monsieur Lagerfeld’s imagination, and this morning, Karl seemed to be asking: “what does the view look like from the top?” – erecting an (almost) life-sized Eiffel Tower in the middle of the Grand Palais. Because what is Paris? It is the Eiffel Tower. But it’s also Chanel. And Karl. He’s just as worthy of being seen as a symbol of the city, a point proved, post show, when he received a medal honour from the city’s mayor as the entire audience stood on their feet. “Vous etes Paris,” she said.

So consider this a celebration. Of Chanel, of Karl, of it’s Atelier – of Paris itself. And what are French girls? Ahhh, tres chic. Oui oui. So this collection was a study in Parisian fashion, siphoned through the incredible vision and craftsmanship of Karl and the Atelier. Beginning with, as all good Chanel shows do, tweed – here, in these long, boucle jackets that ballooned on the shoulder, the shape speaking of this fullness that continued throughout the collection. Flashes of leather lurked throughout – French girls are sexy, too – or flashes of feathers that shot up from the model’s shoulders.

Bows and rolls of fabric at the arms and waist added to that sense of excess – the generosity of couture in fabric and detail. And there was something amplified about it, a feeling that ran throughout – all the way to the frocks – embellished column gowns, which played on his last couture offering, this time alongside incredible layered baby-doll gowns, generously proportioned but light as air, or dresses that flared at the hemline, 1950s-style. We aways finish here with a bride – her gown also baby doll in shape, finished with twirls of tulle that almost floated above the ground. Nobody quite does couture like Karl Lagerfeld – clothing for the most wealthy and fabulously dressed women – and for the rest of us to just look on in awe.

Photographs Jason Lloyd-Evans