Urban legend: Chanel conjures an ancient Grecian spectacle in Paris
For its A/W 2017 show in February, Chanel rocket-launched into the future with an interstellar show at the Grand Palais, a venue transformed into the chicest of space stations. At the house’s Resort 2018 show this week, Lagerfeld took instead to a time machine, travelling to his idealised version of Ancient Greece, one defined by beauty and the highest echelons of culture, and bouclé-clad muses and goddesses.
From Antibes to St Tropez, Chanel has staged its Resort shows in a range of exquisite French locations. For its show last year, the house headed to Cuba, but for 2018, Lagerfeld erected his idealised vision of ancient culture – complete with Parthenon-worthy crumbling columns and a sunset view of the Aegean – at the Grand Palais’ Galerie Courbe in Paris, a city at the centre of a polarising general election.
An arrow brooch, pinned to a bouclé tunic, nodded to Eros the Greek god of love. Photography: Olivier Saillant
At the show, he entwined his mythical vision of ancient Greece with the classical interests of Coco Chanel. A first century headless statue of Venus still sits at her Rue Cambon apartment, and an iteration of it appeared on set, wrapped in cloth and a construction site of wooden scaffolding.
In 2011, Karl Lagerfeld shot the ‘Mythology’ Pirelli calendar, imagining a host of models as figures from ancient Greco-Roman legends. It’s a theme he revisited for his latest Resort collection, as Lagerfeld took his vision of ancient Greece to Olympian heights, erecting an entire mythical city.
His Grecian goddesses donned draped and asymmetric sleeved gowns, column inspired sun-pleat trousers and tunics in Cycladic blue bouclé. Details came in knitwear featuring ancient urn motifs, golden laurel cuffs and sautoirs, column-heeled gladiator sandals and bejewelled corsets evoking Spartan breastplates. ‘Reality is of no interest to me,’ he explained. ‘I use what I like. My Greece is an idea.’ We like it.