PARIS (AP) – Art returned to a glittering Chanel couture universe Tuesday with monumental animal sculptures gathering in the center of a real zoo-like runway-in-the-round for its Paris Fashion Week show.
Designer Virginie Viard collaborated again with contemporary artist Xavier Weilan, who used the bestiary in the apartment of the house’s founder Coco Chanel as a creative springboard for carnival-like spring decor.
Yet as many of the animals – created in unpainted wood, paper and cardboard – appeared simplistic, lifeless and monochrome, the Chanel collection contrasted dramatically, sparkling with color and sequins in an unusually vibrant display.
Here are some highlights:
Animal Parade of the Channel
Weilhan said he wanted to “evolve the animal connection that is constantly evolving in our societies.”
A VIP front row that included Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton, G-Dragon and Vanessa Paradis, who were seen as a giant camel, bull, fish, horse and lion, made to resemble blown up mobiles, The wheels were mounted under the ceiling installation on the awkward runway. Large geometric disc.
There were gasps when a bird with a huge beak and myriad scruffy wooden feathers was pushed onto the set. The chick gave birth to a model in a split white riding jacket with a top hat and fringed skirt. It had guests reaching for their cameras — with one guest commenting that it was a “Trojan chick”.
The rest of the ornate collection seemed less directly connected to the animal theme — and this level of subtlety isn’t a bad thing. There were strong equestrian styles, building on ideas from previous Wired seasons. Here, riding jackets were a major theme, made in gleaming silk tweed over gamine miniskirts and youth skirts.
There was fun quirkiness in the long white gloves, black-and-white bow ties and white boxer-like lace up boots with thin gold or black capes — even if such accessories sometimes felt detracting from the general aesthetic.
Couture is second nature to Chanel. The details of this exuberant and sometimes poetic couture – which dazzled with brocades, paillettes, sequins and gleaming silks – spoke for themselves.
A loose amorphous gown glistened like a silver fish with its thousands of embroidered sequins and silken breasts of black, white and gold. Elsewhere, a thickly textured bell skirt was constructed using wavy layers of white colored silk like an underwater shell. Or was it a delicate layered cloud?
alexis mabilly color
Her couture fusion was laced with drama.
French designer Alexis Mabille blends old-school Grecian draping with the Indian sari in the bright colors of South Asian dress. It produced a soft spring collection with elongated silhouettes, using dozens of meters of floor-sweeping silk.
Bejeweled flowers adorned the hairstyle, which flowed freely like a dangling length of fabric.
A bottle green gown cut a lofty hourglass silhouette. It reshaped the model’s body, open at the sides, wide at the top, and held in place by a Grecian waistband. An earthy blue gown, unstructured flowing from a round neck and hanging to the floor, was notable for its pure simplicity.
Not everything was a hit, however, such as the blue hooded gown that featured slightly incongruous, edgy satin lapels and a faux belt that confused the eye.