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