Chanel Haute Couture AW14

Baroque excess meets clean Corbusian modernity, complete with a pregnant – and progressive – couture bride. Susie Bubble reports

Fashion Show
Chanel Haute Couture AW14 Susie Bubble Karl Lagerfeld
Ashleigh Good (RPD) at Chanel Haute Couture AW14 Photography Alina Negoita

Initial reaction:

In a deliberately toned down set at the Grand Palais, the runway was flanked by a simple grid-like doorway, which opened up to digital fireplace, a faded mirror stamped with CC sitting atop. This deceptive lounge setting held the juxtaposition between Baroque and Le Corbusier – the weight of history and modernity playing off each other throughout the whole show. Everything from the tweed suit (rounded collar, A-line to the knee, worn with tweed cycling shorts and flat ribboned sandals and cross body postman's bag) to a fiery scalloped-edged laminated lace top and feathered gowns with arm warmers displayed the artisanal prowess of Chanel’s atelier. On a hair note, Sam McKnight gave every girl a shock of tufted hair at the front, weirdly echoed by the messy crop that Kristen Stewart was sporting as a guest of the show (apparently she had only cut her hair an hour before).

Le Corbusier:

Chanel gave special credit to the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, who build an apartment with a terrace overlooking the Champs-Élysées, where 18th century elements like a gold baroque mirror were set into a stark concrete wall. This week, designers seem to have been looking at the past to look to the future, and in the Baroque period and Le Corbusier you have a sharp contrast to play with, as ornate embellishment went up against interrupted and clean lines. Soundtrack wise, Michel Gaubert was given a 'Baroque' brief by Lagerfeld, but chose to shine light on modern day prodigies like 19-year-old Shamir Bailey as well as a new track by French composer Koudlam. 

Here comes the bride…:

Chanel's couture 'bride' – New Zealand model Ashleigh Good – walked down the aisle with a six month pregnancy bump. In this instance, that extra curvature served to showcase the beautiful ovoid shapes and billowing volumes, which permeated the finale passage of brilliant white gowns, accented with golden rococo detailing. They echoed the curvatures of Le Corbusier buildings such as the chapel of Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp. People on Twitter were quick to comment on how 'modern' it felt to have a pregnant bride at a couture show, which clues you into the sheer weight of tradition that hangs over an institution like haute couture. Whether it's a statement on modern life or not, the bride was resplendent in her gown, replete with the most lavish of gold embroidery on her cape. 

Last season, crystal couture trainers were worn by models in a set that resembled a giant zoetrope. See it below:

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