Given recent tragic events, it’s a coincidence but a big one that Chanel’s Metier d’Arts show for the pre-Autumn 2016 collection’s backdrop is a city street, a fond ode to ’60s left bank Parisian culture, a convivial time that stands in stark contrast to the tension filled Paris of today.
Chanel has built streets and other backdrops for its runway presentations, but this one was created within Rome’s Cinecitta film studios, which in and of itself adds a new perspective to prior shows, bringing them into focus as movie sets, too, rather than just highly elaborate backdrops for runway shows. Karl Lagerfeld not only flipped the script by building a runway in an actual movie studio, he added the extra deft touch of creating a shades-of grey set that conveyed a night time setting, further driving home the cinematic sensibility of the backdrop.
The set reflects Lagerfeld’s love of early ’60s Italian cinema, and in terms of styling and the overall look of the show, he borrowed from French actresses Romy Schnieder and Anouk Aimee who both wore Chanel in early ’60s Italian films. And while looks were in part inspired by ’60s cinema vis-a-vis teased bouffants and devil-may-care minimalist mod silhouettes, the fashion also spoke to the brooding mood fashion has been in of late, revealed with goth black leather skirts and slip dresses played against lace black stockings.
The contrast of the movie set highlighting an artful, idyllic past versus the tension cutting like a knife through Paris today wasn’t lost on Lagerfeld, who commenting on the show said, “[It’s just an idea, a dream of Paris. We need to keep dreaming because the reality of Paris is bleak.”
To further drive home the Russian doll movie-within-a-movie theme, the runway was preceded by a short film called “Once And Forever” featuring actress Kristen Stewart playing a youthful Coco Chanel (watch below).