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Kendall Jenner Chanel Haute Couture SS15 transparency skirt
Kendall Jenner (Elite) at Chanel Haute Couture SS15Photography Lea Colombo

Chanel Haute Couture SS15

In a carefully crafted hot house bursting with paper blooms, Lagerfeld proves that florals can be groundbreaking after all

TextSusie LauPhotographyLea Colombo

Initial reaction:

“Florals? For spring. Groundbreaking.” That’s definitely up there in Miranda Priestley’s coterie of put-downs in The Devil Wears Prada, but in the case of Karl Lagerfeld’s latest haute couture collection for Chanel, florals can – yes – be groundbreaking. That’s down to the supreme craftsmanship that Lagerfeld ekes out time and time again with the help of his petite mains. The initial cue may have come from Chanel’s signature camellia, but Lagerfeld’s garden played host to an array of species, as seen in the palette of poppy red, hyacinth blue, pollen yellow and an array of rose pinks. Lagerfeld kept his blooms fresh with a recurring cropped silhouette with short tweed jackets, made to expose his new favourite erogenous zone – the abs. They were worn with skirts, which were full and cropped above the ankle and laden with bursts of organza flowers and beading. Grosgrain belts were slung low on the hips and left to hang. Sticking to Lagerfeld’s love of a flat, every model had on black leather sock boots – perfect for stomping in the grass – and had her head up in the clouds of a diaphanous tulle sun hat, an embellished floral beanie or a simple strip of netting. The final Chanel bride’s face was practically obscured by a mass of white tulle. Her trailing skirt of tissue-white roses floated through the garden, followed by male gardeners carrying bouquets. 

Jardin de Chanel:

In a round hot house constructed in tones of mint green to match the interior of the Grand Palais, a bed of flowers sprung up mechanically after the Chanel gardeners in dungarees and straw hats went around with a watering can. Bluebells, orchids and gardenias crafted out of watercolored paper unfurled and unfolded magically, echoing the cornucopia of colours that ensued in the collection.

Tending an atelier:

After the controversy of last season’s feminist riot, florals for spring seems like a lovely antidote and an effective way of communicating youthfulness. And when Lagerfeld wants to garden, he can really galvanise his atelier to blossom. Print is eschewed in favour of a multitude of ways of making the flowers look alive and sculptural. One ensemble had strips of organza constructed to look like Chinese paper lanterns. Flowers are constructed out of acetate to look 3–D. Haute couture doesn’t need a radical wayward theme when it’s this deliciously rich.