here is really no more extravagant or delightful way to tip-toe out of the postpartum baby nest as you contemplate societal re-entry than by attending a destination fashion show. This is particularly true when said show is Chanel.
At that point, there’s almost a greater expectation that wraps itself around a thoroughly impressive runway set and the Michelin Star-level of street style that saunters around the venue by way of dedicated fans and editors dressed in full looks (I’m talking headbands and handbags, earrings and EAR PLUGS) — the Chanel equivalent of team jerseys.
I guess in some ways, fashion designers do set their customers up to feel like they’re on a team. When they’re good at their craft, they genuinely convince their customer that she’s part of something bigger. When they’re really good at it, she actually is part of something bigger. Does anyone understand the magnitude of this concept the way that Chanel does? I’m not sure. But given last night’s spectacle, I’ll confirm that nothing brings a group of people together quite like being at sea — even if the sea in question is actually just a projection of moving lights situated at the center of Paris’ Le Grand Palais.
In last night’s fantasy, Karl Lagerfeld took us all aboard a manufactured cruise ship called “La Pausa” to display a literal cruise collection. In reality, La Pausa is a de facto villa in the Alpes-Maritime department of the South of France that was built, designed and owned by Coco Chanel in the 1930s. Nothing says South of France like nautical rope moonlighting as a handbag strap, even in Paris!
Along the boat walked 88 models, first wearing thematic “La Pausa” sweaters, then wearing ruffles and sequins, tent-shaped tweed jackets and (thank God for me) pedal pushers, some of them covered in beads. There were also leather shorts and some slashed denim, which you could call a cruise line curveball or an all-you-can-eat buffet wherein the plate is your body and the vast array of styles are pickings from the disparate food choices.
The models wore white tights punctuated by Mary Jane sneakers (yes, sneakers) or flats. Tweed berets topped every head except one where a dramatic, white wide brim took center stage next to an embellished black halter dress and white mid-rise fingerless gloves that seemed to shout with the intense gusto of a shipwrecked dame, “Overboard!” An homage to Goldie Hawn, in my opinion.
At the show’s conclusion, Lagerfeld — the captain — stepped out to wave hello and then quickly retreated while the rest of us were escorted to the upper deck for oysters and caviar and champagne and scallops. I looked around for a minute to admire the team jerseys. I thought about how many of these women would be wearing white tights and sneakers the next time I saw them. I wondered if I would be wearing the same. I spoke to familiar faces and ogled over the circumstance. Here we were! In Paris! Among exotic nourishment and ready-to-wear! What could be better? And just then, as re-entry was beginning to feel like a new-but-old normal, my boobs started to leak. So I went home to pump a bottle and kiss a photo of my kids goodnight.
Feature photo by Dominique Charriau/WireImage via Getty Images; slideshow photos via Vogue Runway & Getty Images.