Chanel AW 16: Everybody, Now

And just like that, another fashion month came to a close. The six-week whirlwind that saw the industry, like a traveling circus, globe trot from one city to the next finally came to a spectacular close in Paris on Wednesday. But fret not, my fellow fashion lovers, for it’s now, after the runways are folded up and the designers bid adieu, that the real reflection begins. In the relative quiet of the next few weeks, attendees and wanna-bees alike will be turning over each collection in their head, dissecting what they liked, what they didn’t, and everything in between.

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Naturally, the Paris shows are the freshist in everyone’s mind. One runway that never fails to leave an impression is, of course, the great atelier that is the House of Chanel. This season was no different, as evidenced by my Instagram feed, which is still clogged with images from Tuesday morning’s show. In the past, most of the hubbub surrounding the Latest Adventures Karl Lagerfeld has been in reference to the label’s jaw-dropping set. This year, however, the talk was less about what was present and more on the topic of what was, well, missing. Gone was the airport complete with working terminals, the supermarché with C-emblazoned milk cartons, the café worthy of Fitzgerald & Co. In their place was a surprisingly bare yet still breathtaking space, a blank canvas of gold chairs and mirrored columns (see above). It was an homage to the intimate setting where, long before the dawn of Instagram and Snapchat, designers like Gabrielle Chanel showed their latest offerings to clients.

Intimacy, of course, means something entirely different in the 21st century. The Chanel show was the largest of the week, with attendance easily edging into the several hundreds, perhaps thousands. There were plenty of clothes, too: ninety-three looks wove their way through that maze of chairs. All in all, the experience was a far cry from the hushed appointments held by the couturiers of yesteryear. And we couldn’t expect it to be, really. Despite his loyalty to the house’s history, Lagerfeld’s reign at Chanel is a multi-million dollar example of the fact that one has to follow the direction of the times in order to prosper.

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This ever-moving-forward mentality, I suspect, that lead the show’s production team to make what is probably one of the most notable choices of the Autumn/Winter 2016 season. Rather than being grouped into recessing lines of chairs, with distinct front and back rows, the seating arrangement in the Grand Palais made it so that every invitation-wielding attendee sat front row. As a result, legends like Carine Roitfeld and Anna Wintour had the same view of the (stunning) collection as the first-year reporters. Such an egalitarian approach is refreshing, especially from such as revered house. At the same time, however, Chanel’s seating style is nothing more than yet another reflection of the way the world turns. With the advent of blogs, social media, and live stream technology, the fashion industry is more accessible than ever. In that sense, everyone with an iPhone has their own “front row” seat. And with clothes like the kind Lagerfeld showed on Tuesday, the view is pretty darn good.

xx

images via Vogue Runway

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