Best shows from Paris Couture Fashion Week SS18: Chanel and Ellery
Reporting from the couture shows in Paris, our contributing fashion writer Brent Taalur Ramsey shares his thoughts on the best shows from day two, during which Chanel took the lead with a collection inspired by the beauty of French landscaping, before giving way to the exciting couture debut of Australian designer Kym Ellery. Stay tuned for more in the coming days as we continue our coverage from the runway.
CHANEL: A WALK IN THE PARK
Designer: Karl Lagerfeld
The rundown: The sets at Chanel's semi-annual couture shows are ever far from simple. While yesterday's French garden landscape may not have been as grandiose as the fall 2017 reconstruction of the Eiffel Tower, it was nothing like your average walk through the park, which is to say it was a beautiful feat of set design in its own right. Complete with real roses (but of course) and an 18th century fountain, the set reflects Karl Lagerfeld's vision for his latest couture collection, following the many facets of life in Paris during the spring, and celebrating the season to come. From glowing sophistication, to floral frivolity, this outing was stocked fully with classic Chanel suits and pretty dresses; it was Lagerfeld's very own dreamland of floral appliqué, latticework tweeds and elevated handiwork.
Favourite look: Throughout the palatial gardens Chanel temporarily built inside the Grand Palais in Paris, models donned a variation of smart tweed suiting, sheer dresses and expertly layered ruffles. While this collection was certainly not without its fair share of favourite looks, the instant standout of the show didn't come until much later on — the finale. The Chanel bride has become a fixture in every one of Lagerfeld's couture outings. This time, the role went to Luna Bijl, the Dutch model, who wore a stark white Marlene Dietrich-like tuxedo, decked almost completely head-to-toe in feathers, from sleeves to train, making her the first pant-clad bride to walk the runway since Edie Campbell in fall 2016.
Upon closer inspection: Nothing quite compares to what we've just seen revealed on the spring Chanel catwalk. There is, however, another matter at hand I feel must be shared with you. It's become a major topic of discussion amongst the show-goers in Paris, the state of the newly budded whiskers on Lagerfeld. What originally came to my attention at the Dior Homme show last week during Paris Fashion Week Men's has now made its appearance during his final bow at the couture show. For a man who has one of the most uniformed style codes of any designer in the industry, it's obviously caught a few second glances. I'm liking the "bearded" Karl Lagerfeld; kudos to the 85-year-old creative director for trying something new.
ELLERY: THE NEXT CHAPTER
Designer: Kym Ellery
Initial thoughts: Whenever a ready-to-wear designer announces he or she will be joining the couture schedule, there is usually always a moment spent questioning what exactly it is they'll be showing. Will it be ready-to-wear, just simply shown during couture season? Or, will it be genuine couture? At Ellery's debut at Paris Couture Week, she immediately put all thoughts, questions and concerns to rest — with a monumental yes, it'll be all the above.
The rundown: Within the first few looks, and without any indication on the show notes, Ellery's introduction into the world of haute couture went without a hitch, if not without an occasional raised brow. There were a few among the crowd that called to question the lack of boundary between her RTW offering and her couture line; for others, this represented all too well the increasingly popular breakdown of the seasonal fashion calendar. What many weren't expecting was a true-to-form RTW collection presented — and elevated — with intermingling couture creations. The only thing to get straight here is that the show was technically a spring 2018 couture outing remixed with the first drop of her fall 2018 RTW range. Applause to both.
Favourite looks: Inspired by the ever-curatorial woman of art, furniture and style (like herself, I would be happy to believe), Kym Ellery's recognisable voluminous proportions and cut-out shapes were updated into a more dramatic range (looks 6, 20, 26) with her newer, more bespoke forms arriving in familiar boxy suits in ultra luxe fabrics, including black Lurex tweed (looks 1, 10, 17, 19, 21).
All coverage from Paris Couture Fashion Week spring/summer 2018.