If you're wearing haute couture, it’s likely you spend time in a palace. If you're showing haute couture, why not indulge that? That's the rationale of Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld, who every season creates a world under the glass at Paris' Grand Palais.
For SS13 – these clothes may be advanced but they operate discreetly a season behind, made within weeks for handfuls of clients instead of put into a mammoth global production that requires months of planning – Lagerfeld created a forest, complete with birds tweeting in the trees, as opposed to bloggers tweeting on the seats. The mood? Ethereal, light, wistful, as models walked over sand, trailing dresses over grit that had had hundreds of hours of meticulous hand labour spent on them, an amalgamation of hedonism and the insubordinate.
To Michel Gaubert's pulsating soundtrack, epically casting Andy Stott's 'Numb' in starring role, Sam McKnight coiffed hair with avian flourish and Peter Philips embellished eyes, whilst out came more looks than in the populus of ready-to-wear collections, from dusty nature tones to sequinned numbers emblazoned with flowers of Lagerfeld's illustration. Models span round to flick out skirts, like a Kate Bush version of Picnic at Hanging Rock. Couture shows, by tradition, end with a Bridal look – here the mariée was in fact two, walking with Brad Koenig's son, Lagerfeld's chic way of getting political on the debate about gay marriage in France.
The rue Cambon maison is one of the few houses that makes money from couture, which is why it’s crucial to give clients plenty of options, to pick or modify at their whim. You won't find the exact same piece twice – quelle horreur! At the show, they wear Chanel and lots of it, for shopping at its most hardcore.
You can't help but think of the opposite end of the spectrum, wearing your favourite band's t-shirt to a gig of theirs. Worlds apart, there’s a strand of passion within both that remains the same.
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