A circular space, its glitter-flecked walls sparkling like the early morning light. A mobile wall opening upon a pair of sleek, circular curved stairways cocooning Sebastian Tellier’s orchestra. Rows of seductive pale-gray sofas. Welcome to Cambon Club.
Karl Lagerfeld conceived the space in which he presented his Chanel couture show on Tuesday morning as “a futuristic nightclub” and not, he stressed, a “disco. That’s démodé.” To wit, if the word “disco” rings with the retro decadence symbolized by a crescent moon and indiscreet spoon suspended over an infamous dance floor on New York’s West 54th Street, Lagerfeld’s club offered a different path to euphoria — run, baby, run. He pulled off an ingenious fusion of serene and sporty, one swathed in otherworldly iridescence while shod in sneakers (albeit made by the specialty atelier Massaro, and elevated by applications of lace, tulle or beading).
Every girl wore them, the better to skip merrily down those stairs, no matter how gussied up her look. Therein lies the power and genius of Lagerfeld’s Chanel: The man doesn’t waver. (Well, part of his power and genius. Conviction doesn’t go far if the clothes bomb.) Lagerfeld believes in his story and in himself. And why not? His 30-year track record at Chanel speaks to the validity of his judgment. Were the sneakers shtick? Of course they were (although expect them to sell), but shtick with a point. Lagerfeld was proclaiming the currency of couture: It can be young, it can be active, it can be versatile, all while remaining consummately couture. The collection was hyper-focused yet diverse. One major theme was the intense corsetry exposed between cropped jackets and belled skirts as well as breathe-freely waistless looks as different as divine diva gowns and a sheer T-shirt-and-bicycle shorts ensemble. The latter pulsed with the kind of fashion audacity that cries out for a brave starlet to don at the Oscars. Such touches of overt sportif (that also included knee and elbow pads) integrated within a glorious lineup. Holding it all together: exquisite fabrics embroidered or hand-loomed and aglow with iridescent, transparent, holographic effects. Mesmerizing — yes. But practical, too, in that haute kind of way, a point driven home by the footwear. Because Lagerfeld is nothing if not grounded.