Maybe Chanel Just Did What Fashion Does Best

Two shows in Paris this season have already explicitly touted themselves as dedicated to joy. First, there was Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent; he described his models as women who just want to enjoy life. Then there was Céline’s Phoebe Philo, who exclaimed, “if there is anything to say…let it be joyful.” Simon Porte Jacquemus didn’t necessarily shout “happiness,” but his collection, an emotional dedication to his mother, espoused it all the same. Ditto that for Sonia Rykiel and Alessandra Rich and Isabel Marant and Valentino.

This morning, Karl Lagerfeld staged a larger-than-life, mountainous waterfall inside Paris’ Grand Palais to celebrate his Spring 2018 collection on the last day of the September/October ready-to-wear season with plastic top hats and boots (I, for one, will really look forward to getting caught in rain while wearing plastic boots with a satin toe cap), ponchos and handbags, and all of the tweed that would fit beneath it.

Each model wore bright blue eye shadow and a bold red lip. Layer upon layer of fringe hung from the seams of tweed skirts and shorts and jackets and bags. And regarding those bags, most models held more than one. I caught at least two fanny packs worn over shoulders, decorated with silk florettes. Some bags were creatively strapped onto wrists and upper arms; others were simply tucked into bigger bags. The clothes hit all the points. Varying assemblies of Japanese pastels alluded to the possibility of a faraway destination on tap for the brand’s annual Métiers d’Art show in December; a group of denim looks and the incredibly short skirts and dresses (mod, for sure) satisfied the young talent freckling the front row. Tweed jackets and skirts and those closing white dresses would appeal to the house’s most loyal clients.

Through it all ran that similar spark of joy, which is a distant, challenging state to embrace given the state of our world — politically tumultuous, morally bankrupt, socially divided — today. It’s the same glaring disparity of fantasy versus reality Vanessa Friedman spoke to during New York Fashion Week in The New York Times: “current events have a way of overshadowing clothes.” Maybe the point here was to create an experience of joy at a time when it’s so lacking. If so, for me, this show succeeded. Maybe this is precisely what fashion — observing it, admiring it, not necessarily wearing it — is supposed to do when current events overshadow all, not just clothes: give you a place to find joy when seemingly, it is nowhere else.

Feature image by Dominique Charriau/WireImage via Getty Images, runway images via

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  • Maren Lindquist

    I have a lot of feelings about this. Interesting to see Chanel’s take on the Yeezy clear boot. I would like a set of each of those earrings to go with a clear pvc bucket hat. The denim skirt and jacket pair has me dreaming of Canadian tuxedos.

  • WHA kind of make up is this? OMG! Love your writing, great style! XO

  • Beautiful clothes, but I can’t get behind the wearability of those boots. Hella foot steam! No one wants to be reminded how sweaty/hot one’s feet get. Or is the foot steam an intentional part of the look?

    • Micah Lpez

      3,000 dollars for steamy feet, pass!

  • Jillian Colin

    Leandra thank you for writing this! I feel the exact same way. Looking through all of the most recent collections, I truly appreciate how much passion and emotion are put into each collection. People coming together to create collections and pieces that we can each use to create fantastical versions of ourselves. In these crazy times, it means so much to have outlets of expression. x

  • Megaroni

    The bag in #12 reminds me so much of that smelly (prob toxic) goo that you blew thru a tiny straw. Giving me major 00’s nostalgia. And honestly love the clear poncho! But with the hats feel like I want it to go further?


    well said this is realy true fashion is a state of mind of course at least at this level we can find joy and fulfilment


    transparency for transparency this is what we real need in this chaotic world well done chanel

  • Pandora Sykes

    i do wonder who in heavens name will buy those boots

    • Natty

      the same people who buy vetements velour tracksuits …

  • Bo

    Ugh can you imagine the total sweating nightmare that would be an hour in those boots? No chance for anything to breathe; welcome to a life of foot odour and tinea

  • Maybe its just me, but I the only thing I thought about when looking at the pictures was how much plastic was used to make the collection? it looks great, but shouldn’t we all make an effort to reduce our plastic consumption instead of making it fashionable? Recycling should be made fashionable, organic cotton, biodegradable materials, etc. I want to see big fashion brands who care about what their clothes is made from, and how it impacts the world, not just pretty looking clothes…

    • ReadER451

      I agree. Camille Charriere made an excellent point on her Insta story that the clear plastic look will be copied by high street stores, which will only contribute to the waste.

    • Olivia AP

      Leandra nails it every time. Fashion must be an escape from a world that seems to be getting worse. But I also think that something changed in our mindsets, and we also question entertainment. It may get a little depressing but at the end of the day it’s the only way to make a change.

    • Pepa Aran Paredes

      I think we are missing a point here, and it’s that high street stores are selling luxury. Plastic will at some point become a material not everyone can have access to, just like dimonds or gold, and I think Chanel might be digging into this opportunity here. When wearing reciclable, enviromentaly friendly materials is imposed on the general population rather than an option, wouldn’t be wasteful become some kind of upper class distinction?
      Although I also prefer to think that since higher class people, or people who can afford luxury items, are usually well educated and have a better sense of future of perspective, they will not fall into the dark hole that consuming and wasting is. (And yet aren’t these people who consume the most, just because thry can?)

  • Caroline Christianson

    Kanye gets to so clearly see the effect of his influence. Le Sigh

  • Jay

    Loved every piece of it. And I do think, those days, please lets keep up the magic.

    Anyone into a trip to Disney Land?

  • DMM

    Chanel will not save the world, no matter how well dressed it’s clients may be.

  • Stunning collections!

  • Genuine question, not meant to annoy anyone: why are plastic foot steam boots great when Chanel does them and an embarrassing sideshow when Kanye does?