By FIACHRA GIBBONS
Chanel goes digital in Paris show
DESIGNER Karl Lagerfeld turned Paris’s vast Grand Palais into a computer data centre Tuesday for a Chanel show that was as retro as it was futurist.
Two models wearing white robot helmets led out a collection which mixed Chanel’s classic Jackie Kennedy-style suits in computer wire colours with slinky lace-edged lingerie dresses in pinkish pearl and ivory.
With Chanel’s famous interlacing “C”s logo rendered with computer wires, the German-born designer went off on his own cyber voyage in search of truly chic geek.
To a heart-jolting techno version of Donna Summer’s 1977 disco classic “I Feel Love”, the 83-year-old creator put the luxury brand’s classic looks through a computer matrix, remaking them in the spirit of the memory board.
Beyond the Chanel knits in vivid computer colours contrasting with silky camisoles, his most eye-catching innovation was baseball caps worn to the side in electric pink, green and blue with large blingy earrings and jewellery with logos a gogo.
“It’s what I call intimate technology, femininity hidden between the hi-tech,” Lagerfeld said backstage.
Of course nothing dates faster than visions of the future.
And asked if the collection had a slightly 1970s rainbow-coloured retro edge to it, Lagerfeld replied waspishly: “I do collections for today. The ideas of the 1970s I remember, thank you very much.”
“This isn’t a retrospective, it’s a vision of the world as it is now. We depend on all this [technology], imagine your life without a telephone? The next step is artificial intelligence and robots,” he added.
Lagerfeld, known as “the kaiser” for the way he reigns over the fashion world, said hewanted his spring-summer collection to be strong on “lingerie because it contrasts ferociously with the automised universe” of our lives.
His spectacular Chanel shows are legend, having turned the Grand Palais – built for the Universal Exposition in 1900 – into a giant Paris restaurant, an airport lounge and a couture studio in the past.
Fellow catwalk veteran Agnes Trouble, the 74-year-old founder of French brand Agnes b, was also strong on the lingerie look in her show.
But it was the designer’s silky pyjama suits to be worn out and about and to the beach that turned heads, as well as an exquisite wedding dress whose trailing handkerchief trains carried the legend, “Liberty”.
“Wearing pyjamas during the day is so great, hanging around in pyjamas, going to the beach in pyjamas, why not. They are lovely to wear,” she said.
“And yes, there is an ironic touch with Liberty on a wedding dress. But liberty is important, so many people in the world don’t have it. We must cherish it,” she added.