On Tuesday morning, Paris’ Grand Palais was transformed into Boulevard Chanel, complete with wet patches and manholes dotting the “street.” The clothes on parade were really a mix of everything, from slouchy and shiny pinstriped suits to tweeds, boots, coats and bags that looked as though they’d been brushed with vivid watercolours. The finale, however, was the best part, where a model brigade led by Karl Lagerfeld took to the “street” in mock protest, brandishing signs that said “We Need Tweed” and “Drop No. 5, Not Bombs.”
Lagerfeld’s Chanel show was a hard act to follow, but an exclusive unveiling of the new Chanel No. 5 commercial starring Gisele Bundchen, directed by the charming and quite campy Baz Luhrmann, didn't disappoint. Luhrmann took to the stage pre-unveiling to provide an engaging and often hilarious account of filming the spot. No cameras were allowed during the preview, but what I can say is that Luhrmann has created a memorable little film, and just like in his features, the music he’s chosen is quite inspired. This time, “You’re The One That I Want” from Grease has been reimagined by Matthew Hemerlein, aka Lo-Fang, who also stars in the ad.
After my morning – and afternoon – with Chanel, I had a chance to peruse the latest accessories by Christian Louboutin and Alexandre Birman before stopping in at the Celine and Kenzo showrooms to see their spring offerings up close. I even had a rare 45 minutes of free time, so I hit up the famed Café de Flore for lunch, gorging on a ridiculously pricey quiche, before meandering along the winding streets of the Left Bank where I stumbled across Buly 1803, a heavenly perfumery on Rue Bonaparte.
The Alexander McQueen show at the end of the day was riveting, even with just 34 looks (Chanel had more than 80!) and the absence of an extravagant set. The black leather minis, bondage-strapped dresses and over-sized floral, vaguely Japanese prints, kept the audience captivated. All of the looks on parade were sharp, interesting and wearable – well except for the strips of black PVC affixed to the models’ faces.
One more day/post to go at Paris Fashion Week, which I’ve just realized isn’t a week; it’s actually been nine long days of shows and appointments.