Paris Fashion Week: Is Karl Lagerfeld off his trolley? Audience strips shelves after Chanel show

The designer lays his wares out and you pick and choose, like a  salad bar

Paris

Karl Lagerfeld staged his autumn/winter 2014 Chanel collection in a recreation of a supermarket. The shelves were stocked with faux Chanel-branded products - everything from “Jambon Cambon” ham, to camellia-festooned rubber gloves. Lagerfeld went for a simple, direct title: “Chanel Shopping Centre.”

That all sounds funny. And expensive. It was both. It also says a lot about the state of the fashion world today. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel collections often feel like a supermarket sweep, a riot of tweed and chains, pearls and cashmere. Like those mega-marts that pepper industrial wasteland, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. But once you find the aisle with the stuff you like, it’s easy to make your purchase, and a swift exit. That’s Lagerfeld’s formula: he lays his wares out and you pick and choose, like a Chanel salad bar.

Equally, that supermarket can be seen as a metaphor for how designers plunder the stocks of fashion’s past with gleeful abandon, throwing everything into the trolley and seeing what they can cook up when they get home. Lagerfeld does that better than anyone. The man invented the revival of the designer brand when he first clocked into the Chanel HQ on Rue Cambon over 30 years ago. And he still cherry-picks through those references best. Today, alongside the eternal tweeds, there was a hint of the early ’90s with moth-eaten leggings and trainers, and of Lagerfeld’s back-catalogue of sarcastic Chanel-isms like a leather-intertwined chain shopping basket or 2.55 handbag wrapped in cling-film.

Finally, a supermarket sates appetites – en masse. After Lagerfeld took his bow, the entire audience surged forward to grab and bag those Chanel-ised everyday staples in a fashion free-for-all. Lagerfeld, ever-impassive behind sunglasses, coolly fielded questions while mobs stripped the shelves. Security guards confiscated the lot when guests reached the door. Everything will be going into Chanel’s boutique window schemes this autumn.

 

Chanel’s supermarché worked because it wasn’t merely a superficial staging tag-on. There’s a depth. Lagerfeld is a master at catching the mood – in this case, the commerciality and safeness that has infected many a collection. Sometimes, that shapes up into refreshing realness. Other times it means the clothes lack the frisson of forward-thinking that gives them true catwalk validity. They’re pure product, like all that Coco Panettone on Chanel’s Shopping Centre shelves.

Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen shows aren’t about reality. There’s a commercial collection in the showroom to shore up this considerable business. The catwalk is where Burton allows herself – and us – a flight of fancy.

This time, the theme was beauty and the beast, usually fused in dresses that collided lace and lambskin, tiered ruffles against tough, even visceral sproutings of fur or hard patent leather. A trio of sheath dresses disintegrated into animalistic fronds of pelt at the hem. You couldn’t help but place Burton’s tour de force (for it was) in a deeper context, like that afforded Lagerfeld. Maybe the beast is crass commerce, the beauty that form of catwalk artistry and make-believe rapidly falling out of fashion. The industry today is an unholy, uneven marriage between the two.

Not at McQueen. As a pair of gossamer gowns ethereal in their loveliness closed the show, Burton’s beauty won through. To dress? Perchance, to dream.

News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

    High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

    £70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

    Teaching Assistant

    £50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

    Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

    Day In a Page

    Secret politics of the weekly shop

    The politics of the weekly shop

    New app reveals political leanings of food companies
    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Beam me up, Scottie!

    Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
    Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

    Beware Wet Paint

    The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

    Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    Sanctuary for the suicidal

    One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits