If the previous season had moved mountains – or the Gorges du Verdon to be more precise, complete with waterfall – for Autumn/Winter 2018, Chanel brought the woods to the Grand Palais, with a spectacular feat of forestry, enchanting with its realism and meticulous in its attention to every organic detail. That the natural world has, for two seasons now, been a key consideration for Karl Lagerfeld is a far cry from the glittering Chanel Supermarché, Casino or Space-Age collections seen in past times, but no less effective with its simple stillness and quiet calm.
Bringing the outdoors in for his mise-en-scene, this was an ode to autumn – Lagerfeld’s favorite season – as a mottled sunlight effect dappled across the line-up, rustic hues of moss and earthy greens, oak and burnt umber had their moment and leaf motifs were scattered throughout. Edwardiana long slim coats in black made for powerful opening exits, from double-breasted styles in flecked gold lurex to those that were single-breasted with feather epaulets, elbows and hem, there was also a distinct nod to the '80s – a trend we’ve seen on many a runway this season. Suiting – key Chanel currency – meanwhile, came in every length, every tweed, sometimes peplum, sometimes centre-slashed, even quilted, and this included trousers too, which were wide leg for the most part and sometimes in splashy, burnt-metallic lamé.
Playing with parkas and puffas, there was even a little athleisure thrown into the mix via a bright blue peplum zip-up hoodie, while a riot of leaf prints were set off against patina gold boots. Evening perpetuated that story in noir, from halter cuts to shirtdresses, lashings of lace and tulle, paired with brightly coloured opera gloves, showcasing the designer's flair for the classic given a contemporary twist. Resonating on a multi-generational level, but with roots planted firmly in the future, from end-to-end this was a collection that worked in harmony under the broad, storied boughs of the Chanel canopy.