I spent about 36 seconds of the Women’s March over the weekend thinking about Karl Lagerfeld’s weak attempt at staging a feminist fashion march on his Spring 2015 runway, and wondered if he was watching, participating, or gave a fuck. And so, despite the dazzling handiwork in his couture show for Spring 2017, which showed today in Paris, I cannot deny that the whole bit feels tonally off, even though the point of couture, at least for Chanel, is to showcase its classicism and exceptionality within the accords of haute couture.
The structure of both the beaded/feathered gowns and the neater suit pieces were inspired by the Swiss sculptist Alberto Giacometti’s 1926-27 piece “Spoon Woman,” a sort of Cubist take on the Venus Figurine. He was inspired by the fertility of the totem, “the metaphor employed in ceremonial spoons of the African Dan culture, in which the bowl of the utensil can be equated with a woman’s womb,” writes Jennifer Blessing, curator at The Guggenheim.
This inspiration made it into these Thoroughly Modern Millie (via 1962 mods) tweeds, their folds and purposely ovular hips reflecting a respect for the Cubism of Giacometti’s inspiration. Additionally, they factor in a formerly taboo femininity to the ’20s-’80s (note the pearl ankle bracelets) power suit, an emphasis on, I guess, Venusian qualities within the construct of the woman at work. Lean in? It’s a projection of power but, as is increasingly the case from Karl Lagerfeld, rings hollow; an aspiration towards pure aesthetics and beauty is a fine enough cause if he expressed as much, but his interpretation of deeper purpose within the history of the house (Chanel as women’s fashion liberator) feels more and more like appliqué.
But, you know, shit is pretty; the 1920s were a very bad decade but at least the art was good. Bella and Kendall were there.
And Lily-Rose Depp closed the show in a little fluffy cloud of tulle that wafted around her like fondant.
See you at the Oscars, gowns!