Chanel: In his “Garden of Earthly Delights,” Hieronymus Bosch depicted a world of debauched indulgence. But he left out perhaps the most wonderful pleasure of all — clothes. Then again, Bosch’s doomed revelers couldn’t have known the joys of Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel, or they’d have ditched their public nakedness for gem-flecked tweeds faster than you can say hellfire and flat-brimmed hats.
Lagerfeld offered his own garden of earthly delights on Tuesday, with an haute couture collection that found its power in gentleness. Along the way, he worked an 18th-century French-garden motif. “Enough trips all around the world for fashion,” he said the day before his show. “Let’s go back to the days of enlightening. Europe is not so bad, no?”
Lagerfeld created for his set a pristine haven anchored by four blooming camellia topiaries, the perfect backdrop for his message of prettiness and propriety. (So what if more than a few of the ladies who strolled the original jardins lost their heads for their own indulgences? This is show time, not the History Channel.) He thus stayed local for his inspiration, looking to pink-cheeked Boucher romance, Mme. de Pompadour, Marie Antoinette in shepherdess mode and even into the mirror: “Powdered hair — not for the models, so I give them feathered wigs.”
But summon his audience for a costume fest? Hardly. Rather, he worked the myriad pinks of a rose garden into frothy tweeds, some embroidered ever so faintly with sequins. He took the dash of a courtier’s ruffled sleeves to decorate otherwise simple looks, and pilfered the lean, multiple-bow bodice of a Mme. de Pompadour portrait for a garden-party dress with a hint of the Sixties.
Throughout, Lagerfeld put the emphasis on the hips with long torsos and full skirts. In fact, save for some figure-conforming jackets over such skirts, he avoided tight as if it were a hemlock in his garden, even for evening, proclaiming, “The day of the bimbo is over.”
But in his hands, the night of the goddess is ensured. Lagerfeld offered a spectacular array of looks — low-waisted and high-waisted; constructed and soft — most rendered with delicacy, and virtually every one a triumph. Among them: the blue-ribboned white gown under a translucent jeweled apron; the fluid black chiffon jeweled in back; the long, vibrantly appliquéd white coat. As for Karl’s coquettish pink-and-white shepherdess: If Marie Antoinette could play the part, why not the queens of Hollywood?
Issa Rae stopped by WWD's NYC headquarters to talk about season two of "Insecure," which premieres this Sunday on HBO. Click link in bio for all the details. #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery; Styled by @mayteallende)
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"