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The opposite of a needle in the haystack would be the colossal barn set at Chanel’s show on Tuesday, inspired by Marie Antoinette’s 18th-century hamlet at Versailles. The 14-ton structure took a team of 38 sculptors, painters, carpenters and metal workers a week to assemble in the Grand Palais — not to mention the 700 cubic feet of hay scattered on the stage and in the bleachers. There were 500 feet of floral garlands decorating the 30-foot-high building, two tons of clay appointed with raffia painted to look like grass, and it was all rigged so Lily Allen and her band could pop out of the floor and shake the hay with her hit “Not Fair.”
“I sketch all my sets. I’m a set designer,” Karl Lagerfeld said with a shrug after the show. To realize his rustic design required a month and a half of construction in an atelier outside of Paris. Lagerfeld pointed out that the antique-looking wooden beams were actually polystyrene built around a metal structure. The roof, however, was made of wood, with 4,000 shingles painstakingly painted by hand. Elements of the set will be incorporated into Chanel boutique windows for spring.
Lagerfeld said his jumping-off point for the collection was the ecological movement, even if his take on organic country life oozed luxury until the cows come home. “The French like to talk about baba cool,” he said, referring to the term for bohemian. “This is just cool.”
The farm theme ran full circle, from a rooster’s cock-a-doodle-doo to kick things off to the models Lara Stone, Freja Beha Erichsen and Baptiste Giabiconi tumbling into the straw. “Did you like the finale? Ménage à trois,” Lagerfeld said with a wink.