Most girls dream of attending a Chanel fashion show. And who wouldn’t? Karl Lagerfeld, head designer, keeps girls and guys on their toes with his decadent shows, regardless the theme. Its special and distinct locations scattered about the globe are unparalleled by other ateliers.In December 2012 for example, Chanel’s Metiers d’Art spectacular, which Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman described as a “truly exceptional show,” was staged in the ruins of Linlithgow Palace, near Edinburgh, Scotland. The collection was presented within the walls of the 15th century castle, which was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots. The location matched the collection, which featured tartan and tweed accented pieces, worn by models who strut down a catwalk encircling medieval-inspired baskets of fire. Photographers at the show captured the rustic details of Linlithgow Palace, including the wooden awning under which the 400 guests were seated. Even the post-show dinner overlooked a loch, at which six bagpipers appropriately provided the musical accompaniment. According to BBC, Coco Chanel had a long-standing adoration for Scotland when she engaged in a romantic relationship with the Duke of Westminster in 1924.
The annual Pre-Fall shows for Chanel are often featured in the Grand Palais, where models walk a circular runway under the high glass ceiling which oozes natural light, a photographer’s dream. The past 2012 show featured a Bombay-meets-Paris-themed show featuring chandeliers, opulent candle-sticks, turbans, lace embroidery and gold motifs a la Indian textiles. The entire setting, in fact, was set like an Indian king’s dinner feast, tables flanked with gold plates and details, ceilings strung with chandeliers. But the high tea and small CC-decorated steam train were only an appetizer for the main course: the collection. To complement the setting, models were clad in white-and-gold sandals, with pops of regal shades of fuschia and heavily kohl-rimmed eyes. As told to WWD, Lagerfeld explained, “It’s all about refinement. It’s the Paris version of the idea of India.”Lagerfeld also executed a carousel runway at the very location in 2008, the whirligig featuring super-sized accessories like bags, pearls, and Gallic berets. Chanel even transported to Shanghai for the 2009 Metiers d’Arts collection and opening of its flagship store in the city at Huangpu Park. With riffs on Mao-jackets and Vanessa Paradis purring songs at the after-party, Lagerfeld made his mark in Asia loud and clear. Another exquisite display was the Chanel Cruise 2013 line that was showcased at the Palace of Versailles. Guests observed the movement of 18th century silhouettes cut in denim, tweed palazzo pants, and dresses with hip bustles – equal parts androgynous and feminine. Lagerfeld succeeded in transporting viewers to the days of Marie Antoinette with the exclusive view of classic statues and an accordion rendition of Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose”.
Chanel’s locations are often kept secret until the show date approaches, but until the next fashion week, keep yourself busy by scouring through the Chanel archives.
– Alicia Chon