When it comes to Karl Lagerfeld’s designs for Chanel and his ever-changing atmosphere at the Grand Palais, his collections are hit or miss – generally a hit and rarely a miss. Even if a collection was not his best one must applaud Lagerfeld’s audacity to push himself and the brand to attempt new concepts, themes, and most importantly new materials each season. This Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2016 collection highlighted the eco-consciousness of the brand and featured wood shavings and paillettes embroidered into the garments.
Karl Lagerfeld’s approach on eco-friendly design is much needed the world of fashion. The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries in the world. I hope this is not a one-time thing for Lagerfeld, like many of his collections in the past. The fashion industry could use a heavy influence on eco-conscious products and less material waste. Environmentalism, just like feminism, is not a trend Lagerfeld can prop up to show how creative and genius he is. If he cared for these issues he would defend them and argue them when it isn’t Fashion Week, which he rarely does. In spite of that, I am inspired by the designs and admire this beautiful, ethereal collection with environmentalism at it’s heart – something that is near and dear to my own.
Simulated blue skies shined above the audience as a “tranquil setting of trees, lotus-filled ponds and a spread of lush greensward,” made up the setting of this historical Parisian building (Tim Blanks, BOF). Materials such as timbered tiles, wooden beads, recycled paper and organic woven yarn made up the fine details of the collection. It is quite interesting how a large-scale theme can influence something as small as what fiber was used to stitch together the impeccable clothing, which is why Lagerfeld’s attention to detail is beyond compare. Embroidered honey bees nestled on the clothing, which highlighted another prominent cause in environmentalism – the potentially endangered species and agricultural decline because of it.
Multiple models wore an iPhone pouch around their waist, which was a delicate yet useful touch for the modern woman. My favorite piece was the show-stopping opening look that was immaculately constructed. The collection featured multiple looks with this ‘bubbled out’ silhouette which included exaggerated sleeves with a short and straight torso. The makeup gave a futuristic feel and reminded me of the same ambiance at Louis Vuitton Resort 2016 – couture that could have doubled as costumes for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As every Chanel Haute Couture collection has a bride, this one specifically had wood worked throughout her entire outfit.
At the end of the show, all of the models ascended into the set of a bamboo abode made up of multiple rooms. It looked like a place of zen – a dollhouse for the strict use of reflection and tranquility. After the spectacle was over and the seats cleared the Grand Palais, the set was deconstructed and the wood was repurposed. Paper, wood and string can all be reused and recycled, but when you use these materials to construct clothes, how would one recycle a couture outfit? That leads me to another question– where does couture go when the fabulous women don’t want it anymore? I hope these women know it would be eco-conscious of them to give these outfits to a thrift store.
Specifically in Fayetteville, North Carolina. But alas, I believe they are admired in the family’s closets for generations and generations.