Modern mode for models
It felt like the good old days at Chanel’s runway show, with scores of photographers surrounding the catwalk, screaming on the models. Fortunately, the clothes look fresh and fun and for today.
Just like back in the last century, the models marched on elevated catwalks, pirouetting as the photographers snapped each and every move. Some models smacked other girls’ bottoms; others stuck out their tongues. Though this was a modern multi-ethnic cast, they all had the icy hauteur of the golden era of the ’80s when the supermodels were born.
Unlike back then, nowadays enormous crows show up outside each show. For Chanel, over 2,000 fans braved the bucketing rain to record the pampered guests exiting limousines and entering the Grand Palais Ephemere, a huge temporary structure built while the Grand Palais itself is being renovated. Its main sponsor – Chanel, bien sur.
The house had already sent out sneak previews to editors shot by Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Starring Swiss model Vivienne Rohner posed with a SLR camera, with the brand name carefully edited out. An image that formed the backdrop to the black box show auditorium. Rohner even took the final bow.
“Why, shot with a camera? Because in fashion the photographers are nearly more important that the dresses! Even if the dress isn’t that great, you still make a great photo! To me photography is fashion,” exclaimed Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard in a packed backstage after posing with K-pop star Jennie of Black Pink, a brand ambassador, newly nicknamed as Coco Jennie.
Up on the catwalk, Viard immediately surprised by opening the show with swimwear; a half dozen sexy leotards or bikinis – accessorized with ‘CC’ bracelets; multiple pearly necklaces; carnation brooches; big matelassé totes; classic handbags – in pretty much every look. Gals destined for a seaside pop-up and not any beach.
There was barely time for lunch before the cast headed en-masse to a cocktail bar – with patent leather suits; sequined micro A-line dresses; anthracite wool bouclé tuxedo dresses, cut well up the thigh.
Each model spinning, wiggling and shaking their hips as they posed for individual photographers. Others icily looking right down their noses, with all the hauteur of a cover girl.
Though this was an erratic show – with a quartet of zig-zag seaside windbreaker striped suits that really begged to be edited out. Before suddenly finding its stride at the finale – a great octet of beautifully printed bio-morphic butterfly chiffon tops and dresses. The gang all posing before the backdrop as Viard took her bow, a designer very much in control of her destiny. Looking ebullient and relieved she could finally stage a runway show in Paris after a half dozen collection videos in 18 months.
Add in the best soundtrack of the season – a blend of Tirzah featuring Coby Sey and a brilliantly tongue in cheek remix of the supermodel anthemFreedomfrom Christine and the Queens, courtesy of spin master Michel Gaubert – and you got a hit show.
“In June and July when we started thinking about this show, we didn’t know how many people could or would be here. The real Grand Palais is magnificent, but as we had to change location I had this idea of a podium of another era. And that’s why I chose the swimwear. It needed an intimate setting, and would not have worked in the Grand Palais,” explained Viard.
She was also mobbed by many of the models, who clearly loved wearing this collection, so much so one felt they were the real client Viard had in mind.
“To be honest, I love mannequins and find them so cute. So, I wanted these girls to be happy; and they were!” she concluded.