Crowded airports, long security lines and flight delays. Flying today is not the most pleasant experience, and Karl Lagerfeld thinks those travelling on Chanel Airlines deserve a touch more glamour.
The indefatigable 82-year-old fashion legend on Tuesday turned Paris’s glass-roofed Grand Palais exhibition hall into a massive departure lounge when he unveiled his spring/summer ready-to-wear collection for 2016.
At Lagerfeld’s “perfect airport”, everyone is dolled up in chic Chanel with flashes of luxury streetwear like a cap on backwards, a sweater casually draped over the shoulders and metallic gloves, shoes and hair accessories.
And no one is likely to ask you to remove your jacket, belt or shoes.
The red, white and blue of France’s flag, airplane motifs and accessories were seen throughout what the German designer called “a French collection, even if I am a stranger”.
And the irony of the timing of the show — as images of angry striking workers stripping the shirts off Air France executives hit front pages around the world — was not lost on Lagerfeld.
“It isn’t very good for the image of France,” he said of the woes at the national carrier.
But at Chanel Airlines, there was no turbulence, and revealed torsos were intentionally so.
“The inspiration is travel, travel around the whole world and of course perfect boarding conditions, which is not necessarily reality,” Lagerfeld told AFP.
The nostalgia for a time when travel was more glamorous comes after Lagerfeld’s equally elaborate staging of a casino for his haute couture collection in July which he said at the time evoked “a time when people dressed up”.
– Cara Delevingne in front row –
Lagerfeld said he has been working on the typically elaborate decor for six months.
It included a giant board announcing upcoming flights, check-in counters, special Chanel Airline trolleys that fashionistas grabbed for a selfie, and boarding gate number five — a nod to the fashion house’s famous perfume.
“Airports today are not the funniest thing in the world,” Lagerfeld said.
“This is the proposition of a perfect trip to a perfect destination with perfect modern clothes with touches of streetwear but in expensive materials, well done and quite sophisticated.
“But they don’t look as sophisticated as they really are because it’s the attitude of the girl (that) changes it.”
Top model turned actress Cara Delevingne was in the front row as was Vanessa Paradis and her daughter with ex-husband Johnny Depp, Lily-Rose.
Sports stars Lewis Hamilton and Maria Sharapova were also along for the ride.
Kendall Jenner, Lagerfeld’s latest muse, led the pack of youthful models who wore classic printed tweed looks with skirts grazing below the knee, accessorised with metallic gloves and a cap on back to front.
Large sunglasses, a rectangular block of blue eyeshadow and metallic and plastic lace-up shoes gave an urban edge to Chanel’s classic suits.
Their hair was parted into a double ponytail with a wide metallic clip — a nod to Lagerfeld’s iconic ponytail.
The designer unveiled dozens of new looks, including a series of classic suits and dresses in white trimmed with colourful floral prints, and silver sequined tops paired with black bottoms such as wide-legged leather trousers layered with a skirt.
The skirt over trousers look was seen on several models, paired with chunky wedge sandals.
But in between the brightly coloured and busy prints, were more classic Chanel suits teamed with identical boxy little hats.
One model wore a tweed jumpsuit with a chequered yellow and pink pattern, dragging “Coco Case” luggage behind her on the vast runway.
According to a statement from the fashion house, the iconic Chanel suit in its latest form has “no collar, no pockets, no lace, no buttons, but nevertheless remains immediately recognisable.”
Floral prints on silk bandage dresses also gave the collection the “ultra-feminine look that combines comfort and elegance and stylish and functional accessories to travel the world.”