Paris Fashion Week FW16: Chanel

Paris Fashion Week FW16: Chanel


Text: Dora Aljoofri-Shrestha

Fun and functionality (and front row seating) interwoven with the codes of the House sums up Chanel’s urban fall/winter 2016 show

The venue: Held at the Grand Palais, there was no elaborate set design at the Chanel show except for front row only seats for guests who attended. "People complain that they can't see the clothes because they are too far away, this season everybody is front row," explained Karl Lagerfeld. The simple set mimicked the days when Mademoiselle Coco Chanel would showcase her collections in her couture salon on 31 rue Cambon. Front row seating also meant that the models had to walk a runway maze that was 640 metres long. 

Special guests: It's always a star-studded affair at the Chanel shows. This season was no exception with Jay Chou, Pharrell Williams, Jada Pinkett Smith, and the brand's newly announced ambassadress, Willow Smith.

The collection: For FW16, the Kaiser looked back on the fundamentals of the House of Chanel. Taking inspiration from what was already built by Gabrielle Chanel, the collection revolved around the codes of the House — revisited and reworked with a contemporary streetwear spirit. Silhouettes were roomy, voluminous and kept modest with midi and maxi lengths. Outerwear was luxuriously utilitarian. Think: Quilted leather jackets with hoodies (looks 57 and 59) and gabardine duster coats (looks 65 and 67) ideal for the unpredictable weather these days. Grommeted knitwear (looks 34 and 41) added attitude. Tweed outfits in black, grey, pinks and red were elevated with fraying, criss-cross lacing and denim (looks 4, 24 and 29). Tweed skirts were unzipped to reveal gold, silver or bronze lamé  — a nod to one of the founder's famous adages: "Elegance is when the inside is as beautiful as the outside." To further reiterate the relaxed street vibe, every look was grounded with riding boots in a myriad of materials and lace-up detailing across the ankles. The consensus: A Chanel outing that will guarantee street style hits. 

Hats off: Padded boater hats featuring straps adorned with pearls, camellias and byzantine crosses were designed to be carried around the wrist when not worn.

Accessories: Stringed pearl necklaces were aplenty, of course, but this time styled to look like a scarf wrapped around the neck. Other notable costume jewellery? The lavishly witty cat cuffs, peace-sign emoji brooches, and evil eye necklaces.

Something you might not have known: Breast pockets on jackets functioned as smartphone holders.

Favourite look: The epitome of high-low mix, we've got our eyes set on look 91. A basic white T-shirt with rolled up sleeves paired with a stunning embellished silk off-the-shoulder dress featuring a discreet midriff cut-out. 

For all coverage of Paris Fashion Week fall/winter 2016, click here.