Wednesday 23rd January

| BY Claudia Croft

Chanel: Couture SS19

It snowed in Paris. The city, blanketed in white snow, is a beautiful sight. For Chanel clients, it’s an excuse (as if they need it) to wear their plushest sables and chinchillas, but no amount of snow would induce them to put on tights or sensible shoes. Couture clients live in an alternate universe, insulated from everything remotely unpleasant. Nowhere is that otherworldliness more apparent than at a Chanel show. For SS19 Guests were transported from a French blizzard into the sun kissed, formal gardens of a grand Italianate villa, complete with a centrepiece swimming pool.

Down the villa’s stone steps swept the Karl’s beauties, hair teased into high chignons, feather camellias tucked behind their ears. They wore lean tweed pastel skirt suits each so perfectly finessed that every outfit read like a complete story. That’s what couture clients pay for – the care and attention that goes into every stitch. There were pouf hemmed cocktail dresses, grand feather boleros and checked cocktail suits – the pattern made from sheer windowpanes embroidered into the look. Flowers played a starring role. Some looks were made up entirely of tiny daisies, stitched together to create a unique fabric. These pastel and flower encrusted ensembles were supremely pretty. For evening, drop-waisted princess gowns summed up the romance of Chanel’s couture, and then came a surprise. The Italian supermodel Vittoria Ceretti emerged as a bathing suit bride, her costume and swimming cap entirely encrusted with crystals, trailing a translucent veil. It was a fashion moment.

Then another surprise. As the models paraded for the finale, Virginie Viard Karl Lagerfeld’s right hand woman, took the bow alone, followed by an announcement that the 80-something designer was unwell and had asked Viard to represent him. It was a sober moment. It’s hard to imagine a Chanel show without Karl. Get well soon Mr Lagerfeld. Get well soon.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans.