Bryan Boy called it "enchanted." Eva Chen called it "forbidden" (a reference to Harry Potter, of course). But regardless of how one chose to describe the forest Karl Lagerfeld built in the middle of Paris, it was undeniably impressive. Though more low-key than his previous sets — it was no a rocket ship that actually fired up, or a supermarket stocked with Chanel-branded everything — the forest gave attendees a chance to stomp through a pile of leaves (complete with dirt!) in the middle of the Grand Palais. It even smelled like the changing of the seasons, that fresh, clean aroma that signals the start of something new. And the clothing reflected that.
"I’ve always loved autumn," the designer told British Vogue of the inspiration. "It’s a beautiful mood. Autumn was always my favorite season.” Structured coats led the 80-look collection, combining sharp tailoring with some practicality (they may be decorated in feathers, but they sure look warm). The quintessential tweed suit was styled with thick tights, chunky scarves, and for some, even hoods. Midi dresses were paired with leather gloves and boots. The color palette was neutral, too: blacks, browns, and creams, with pops of hot pink and cobalt blue sprinkled throughout. In other words, Lagerfeld played it safe (for once).
Where he did push the envelope — via quilted puffers, a hoodie suit set, and extra-tall thigh-high boots — it felt like a choice made specifically for street style bait. While it's not the first time Chanel has offered any of the above, the pieces felt like they were catering to an audience that follows Demna Gvasalia's every move. They were pieces a brand might pay for an influencer to wear and post on Instagram. But that's not necessarily a bad thing, just a shift to the masses that we're not used to seeing from the ultra-exclusive, once by-appointment-only French maison.
Perhaps that was strategic on Lagerfeld's part. There's no doubt people won't be able to resist a Chanel puffer, even us. But, when will the Balenciaga bubble burst?