Fash­ion di­rec­tor jet­ted off to Paris to ex­pe­ri­ence Chanel’s air­port-themed Spring 2016 show

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - NEWS -

Fly­ing fash­ion’s rst class

Ar­riv­ing at the Grand Palais on a rainy au­tumn day in Paris in my Rich Mnisi geo­met­ric trousers and Marni rain­coat, I am sur­rounded by a sea of tweed suits, camel­lia chains and bows. The time­less el­e­gance of Chanel is a homage to the woman her­self. Bat­tling the hordes of pho­tog­ra­phers, street style stars and celebri­ties work­ing for the cam­eras, I make my way through the (im­mac­u­lately dressed) se­cu­rity and nd my­self in the air­port of the fu­ture. An ideal world where ev­ery­thing looks just as it should – no tired trav­ellers and de nitely no lost bag­gage. As the show be­gins, I watch top mod­els Lind­sey Wix­son, Lineisy Mon­tero and Fei Fei Sun mill around Karl Lager­feld’s air­port cre­ation, en route to Chanel’s key fash­ion des­ti­na­tions: Sin­ga­pore, Dubai, Dal­las, Tokyo and Moscow. Flat­form san­dals (al­beit with runway land­ing-strip ash­ing lights and tweed straps), post- ight sun­glasses and carry-on bags take the idea of the global trav­eller to a new high in lux­ury.

Karl’s lay­er­ing of loose shapes, bold colour and graphic prints cap­ture a new mood for travel, while keep­ing the DNA of the brand with her­ring­bone jack­ets, bow de­tail­ing and the tweed suit. My favourite looks are the re­bel­lious mo­ments: a new take on check; tribal and dig­i­tal prints art­fully lay­ered in a tomboy­ish way; easy styling with sweaters tied around waists. Nine­teen min­utes later it’s all over and I head to a lit­tle spot nearby where I can have a glass of cham­pagne and watch the fash­ion world go by – feel­ing as if I’ve just landed from a whirl­wind trip around the globe.

The next day, I make my way to the most revered ad­dress in fash­ion – 31 Rue Cam­don, the place Coco Chanel called home. It houses a dream world of cou­ture only a se­lect few can ex­pe­ri­ence. The crisp mono­chrome and beige of the salon’s rst oor, de­signed by Karl Lager­feld, fea­tures vast chang­ing rooms and mir­rored walls, with the cou­ture stored be­hind glass doors, hold­ing hun­dreds of hours of painstak­ingly de­tailed work. I go up the fa­mous stair­case, which is cov­ered in mir­rors so gar­ments could be mul­ti­plied in nitely, on to the fth step, from where Made­moi­selle Chanel could oversee the col­lec­tions and guests. I imag­ine her, cig­a­rette to her lips, scis­sors around her neck, pins in hand as she watches the ac­tiv­ity be­low her.

Fur­ther up we go, nally en­ter­ing the in­ner sanc­tum. Coco Chanel’s apart­ment is a baroque world, ev­ery ob­ject a source of in­spi­ra­tion, all ar­ranged in har­mo­nious chaos.The space where Karl Lager­feld spends quiet mo­ments dur­ing the day. Vene­tian li­ons al­lude to her birth sign of Leo; a mas­sive chan­de­lier con­tains hid­den dou­ble C’s and camel­lias. The Vir­gin Mary and Aphrodite both keep­ing watch. It is an in­cred­i­ble, over­whelm­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, to peer be­hind the Chi­nese lac­quered screens into the very heart of Chanel – where it feels like the grande dame has only just stepped out of the room.

Sharon Becker on the steps

of Coco Chanel’s Paris apart­ment at 31 Rue Cam­bon

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