Wednesday 4th October

| BY Richard Gray

Chanel: Ready-to-Wear SS18

In an age of imagery, where pictures have replaced words, the resulting glut of photographs and “virals”, which imprint on us daily through social media, the best fashion brands are finding it increasingly more difficult to be seen and heard.

The white noise of fashion is everywhere and fashion websites and publishers, ad agents and marketeers talk of traffic “super spikes” during show season. And, twice, increasingly three times yearly, consumers press play and scroll to see “what’s new” and (importantly for all brands) repost this “what’s new”. So how does a brand engage and be heard best (and most)? For Chanel and their mega-designer Karl Lagerfeld, it’s through the experiential. A show that’s a show but with an added extra.

The 84-year-old has consistently pioneered with new runway presentation formats using imaginative and expensive stagings. A gigantic space rocket metres high, a manifestation mirroring and moving on from the riots of Paris in ’68; a supermarket: a commentary on consumerism and “the real world”. To this morning’s show at the Grand Palais and a preview of Chanel’s Spring ’18 wares: a waterfall and Jumanji-style set complete with vines and trees and a river with wood and rope-handle bridge plus 45ft of running water.

Let’s call it a “safari in tweed” with see-through plastic raincoats and hats, “shoulder coats” and attachable hoods plus see-through and jewel toned bags and shoppers. One handbag had its own little protective raincoat. Bless. There were even Karl-signature clear plastic gloves. Plus oodles of dangly diamonds. Everywhere. Light as a feather dresses in abstracted tweed, bright and bold tweed, metallic tweed, iridescent tweed with shiny dangly bits; sparkly bright evening dresses and more tweed – a *light green* and *peach* tweed are asterisked for their brilliance.

So what and why – and a waterfall? Well, it was about sunlight and the incredible shifting refraction thereof all beamed on a beautiful collection of clothes and bags. Cue millions of reposts and re-grams around the world and experiential marketing at its very best.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans