Some called it "enchanted." Eva Chen called it "forbidden" (a reference to Harry Potter, of course). But regardless of how one chooses to describe the forest Karl Lagerfeld built in the middle of Paris, it was, well, impressive. Though more demure than his previous sets — see: a rocket ship that actually fired up, a supermarket stocked with Chanel-branded everything — stomping through a pile of leaves (complete with dirt) in the middle of the Grand Palais was oddly calming. It even smelled like the changing of the seasons; that fresh, clean aroma that signals the start of something new. And, of course, the clothing reflected that.
"I’ve always loved autumn," the designer told British Vogue of the inspiration. "This is a kind of Indian summer with all the leaves. It’s a beautiful mood. Autumn was always my favourite 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; and midi dresses were paired with leather gloves and boots. The colour palette was neutral, too: blacks, browns, and creams, with pops of hot pink and cobalt blue sprinkled throughout. In other words, for once Lagerfeld played it safe.
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 looked like they were catering to an audience that follows Demna Gvasalia's every move. Or whom 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 — but when will the Balenciaga bubble burst?