We've seen airport terminals and supermarkets, icebergs and casinos, but this morning's transformation of the Grand Palais into a garden of Zen showed a new, eco-driven direction for Chanel. But, rather than staging feminist protests to confront global concerns, Karl Lagerfeld introduced sustainability into the couture conversation, centering the spring 2016 couture collection around organic and recycled materials. Lagerfeld's leading ladies — which included Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Edie Campbell, Mariacarla Boscono, Lindsey Wixson, and Soo Joo Park — stepped out of a wooden, dollhouse-like pavilion with elaborate Princess Leia-esque hairstyles, wearing cork-soled shoes reminiscent of the pairs Coco Chanel herself wore in the '20s. The sartorial aesthetic, too, was easy and breezy (in a palette of navy blues, off-whites, blacks, and earthy tones): signature tweed twin sets (though reimagined and updated with balloon sleeves and midi-skirts), semi-sheer blouses worn with hip-hugging pencil skirts, and items crafted from small tiles and straw. Near the end of the presentation came a crescendo of more exquisite and embellished pieces — think tiered ruffly gowns, intricately beaded dresses, and evening capes. Accessories were equally conventional, while also nodding to the selfie generation. Take, for example, the gold iPhone case-meets-belt strapped across the waist of social media queen Bella Hadid, naturally.
Off the runway, fashion's favorite face, Cara Delevingne, took a front row seat with the only person who could cause more of a ruckus than the model-turned-actress herself: her pet pooch, Leo. Nearby, Gwyneth Paltrow gave her Goop seal of approval, as did Chanel favorite Diane Kruger. This time, the collection wasn't just a hit for the clothes, but for the message it conveyed, as well. As Chanel is the pinnacle of luxury fashion, evidently no expense was spared for this morning's spectacular show. But how much did it actually live up to its eco-friendly theme? Though the presentation was, in some ways, more conceptually sustainable than literally, Lagerfeld did promise that the entire wooden structure would be recycled following the show. Whether this is just a timely trend or a moment that should be recognized by the industry is still to be determined. But Lagerfeld hit that metaphorical, environmentally-sound nail on the head when he said, “Sustainable fashion shouldn’t look like some sloppy demonstration stuff."