In an ultra-technological world where daily life is increasingly dematerialised, Karl Lagerfeld puts humans back at the centre of everything by making “Intimate technology” the theme of his collection. His vision celebrates a woman walking through kilometres of cables, metallic racks and computer cabinets: she is the very heart of the Data Center CHANEL, she who is the final word and the mistress of this digital universe. This season more than ever, with grace and tenderness, femininity takes control in a collection that allies the audacity of lingerie and the comfort of tweed. The Spring-Summer 2017 CHANEL woman wears her babydoll and negligee in silk and lace. And over that she nonchalantly sports a tweed jacket with rounded shoulders, long sleeves and wide lapels, and a pair of culottes zipped at the front and back. She wears a robot-clutch.
Her modernity is affirmed with new details through “new materials and a wardrobe that is not classic at all”, says Karl Lagerfeld. Touch fasteners replace buttons, braiding becomes a thick jersey cable; woven multi-coloured tweeds include rubber strands and vinyl strips; cotton, denim and wool threads line up like countless electronic cables; collars and cuffs are swathed in embossed translucent gauze. Explosions of colour are everywhere over backgrounds of blue, red, yellow, pink, purple, black and navy, a mix of pastels and electric shades. This contemporary energy is equally diffused over caps in silk or tweed, sleek clutch bags in perforated silver leather, flat shoes with cross over straps, and the big pendant necklaces that resemble ID badges, held on with a snap hook.
As if hastily pulled on, the unlined jackets and big coats in tweed, as light as knitwear, are worn over long skirts and pleated blouses. They alternate with slightly asymmetric jackets, accompanied by zip-up skirts with flat pleats that reveal silk and lace shorts beneath. The new Gabrielle bag suggests a new way to be worn: its double straps are slipped on around the head like a sweater, and nonchalantly border the neck and shoulders, as would a long necklace. Cotton voile gracefully envelopes coats and immaculate dresses, punctuated with ruffled edge camellias. A full skirt in cotton voile is embellished with an entirely pleated XL camellia.
Technology comes attired in an unprecedented softness, on blouses with ruffled cuffs, and silk dresses whose motifs are inspired by the digital world, or other dresses with huge rounded pockets. It opens the door to an exquisite femininity, where silk, lace and crepe georgette intermingle in the most delicate hues of powder, pale pink, candy pink, blush and peach sashaying through to midnight blue. From there on underwear becomes over wear: flat pleat or accordion pleated plastrons are tailored onto underslips and negligees while shell guipure lace petticoats and pyjama trousers in silk and lace cry out to be worn as daywear. Blouses combine touch fasteners, sequins that look like electronic components, feathers and flounces. Evening gowns focus on voluminous sunray pleats, trimmed with marabout.
This collection turns the spotlight on chic lingerie whose elegance contrasts fiercely with the reality of our automated world. Without the human hand, without delicacy and savoir-faire, nothing would be possible. After all don’t two robots wearing two CHANEL suits thus prove, perhaps, that more than any technological breakthrough, it is femininity that truly transcends time?
Presented at the Grand Palais, the CHANEL Spring-Summer 2017 Ready-to-Wear collection was applauded by ambassadors of the House, Lily-Rose Depp, Anna Mouglalis, Gaspard Ulliel and Caroline de Maigret, the American singers Usher and Young Thug, French actress Alma Jodorowsky as well as the Chinese actresses Bai Bai He and Sandra Ma and the young Japanese actress Nana Komatsu.