If you know about Chanel shows, you’ll know that each season Karl Lagerfeld and co. transport us into a fantasy fashion world via an elaborate, immersive set. Previously we've been taken to destinations as varied as a Chanel supermarket, a casino and most recently, last season’s data centre, but this morning’s spectacular show was particularly unforgettable. The Grand Palais was transformed into a space station – the ‘Centre de Lancement No. 5’, naturally – with a life-size rocket bearing the famous interlocking Cs preparing for lift-off in the centre of the show space.
Gabrielle Chanel, who founded the fashion house in 1909, was fascinated by astrology: the zodiac – particularly Leo, her birth sign – constantly shaped her creative vision. She believed in the constellation's influence, choosing lion motifs for her own home decor (a lion statue was never far away), and these superstitions and strong beliefs in the power of astrology were at the heart of this glittering space-themed collection.
Faces of the brand, Lily-Rose Depp (who closed the couture show in January), Cara Delevingne, Pharrell Williams and Lily Allen, who first starred in a campaign for the house back in 2009, sat front row, joined by Rita Ora and Skepta.
The show opened with signature Chanel tweed mini-dresses and coats in grey with black trim, finished off with twinkling silver boots in an array of heel heights and shades. Silver and star-inspired sparkle seem to be a big trend for AW17, already spotted at Saint Laurent with those slouchy, glittering pirate boots and at Dior with swirling constellations adorning the blue gowns.
There was a retro-futuristic feel to the looks, with the '60s silhouettes of the boxy mini-dresses combined with spacesuit collars, statement chokers and goggles to add an über-modern twist. The grey tweed and trademark bouclé jackets and dresses swiftly transitioned into bolder metallic looks, with silver panelled shearling jackets, shiny outerwear and reflective shorts. There were also houndstooth twinsets (as worn by Gigi Hadid), astronaut and planet-print T-shirts, hoodies and dresses and a number of men’s looks worn by Lucky Blue Smith, Baptiste Giabiconi and Karl’s godson, Hudson Kroenig.
The space references became more subtle for the collection’s final series, comprising black glittering gowns adorned with twinkling crystals, finished off with tulle skirts and even feathers. And the cast of models who walked the show was as star-studded as the collection itself, with Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Adwoa Aboah, Arizona Muse, Catherine McNeil, Lindsey Wixson, Binx Walton and Lineisy Montero all appearing as Karl's sophisticated space cadets.
As the show drew to a close, Karl arrived on the Chanel launchpad to take his bow and – much to the surprise of the audience – the enormous space rocket fired up and actually lifted off into the high ceiling of the Grand Palais. Yes, Chanel’s shows are always impressive but this was some of the most mind-blowing staging we’ve ever seen.
As the world’s super-rich start thinking about space tourism, it’s only right that luxury French fashion house, Chanel, would be the first to offer the most fitting, out-of-this-world wardrobe.