I am usually a sucker for Chanel. I crave the theatricality, the exotic (and often far away) locations chosen (or reproduced) for each show, the details and craftmanship poured into every seam and bead, the fact that each season it manages to infuse a completely different inspiration without falling into previous decades in search for new ideas; A book or a place are enough to light the flame for a season.
As you can see, I always have high expectations for Chanel and they haven't often let me down. However, with their latest Resort collection, I am not completely sold. I do have to say I am always bias to beautifully set designs; the show took place on an island (I don't even think a stretch of sand that small can be called that) in Dubai, the rising city of the East; although it can be called architecturally interesting, I don't find Dubai pleasing to the eye; call me old fashion or traditional. The view was nevertheless stunning (as any view from a private desert island overlooking Dubai. This raises another completely different issue about how ethical are fashion shows*). As for the inside, in comparison with previous shows, it was kept minimalist; beige coloured sofas followed the runway with small lights illuminating the way. The only decor which suggested an Oriental atmosphere were some candle lanterns placed scarcely in the corners.
However, the garments are (as always) the redeemable quality of Chanel, despite its (scarce) mishaps. "A romantic,modern Orient, a new One thousand and One nights". These are the words of Karl Lagerfeld describing a collection filled with Oriental innuances: harem pants (in silver metalic, of course), Aladdin slippers, half-moon brooches and a vast array of floating silk dresses in geometric patterns, resembling the bright mosaics featured in tiles or windows in Oriental architecture.
Not to be missed: 1970s inspired, jet-set, impressive hairstyles.
* Shipping models, celebrities, technical crew and clothes plus hiring a private island for a day... not economic. The chosen setting is Dubai, city built on an oil empire. That should tell you enough. However, Chanel often chooses different locations for each show: Paris, Singapore, St. Tropez, Scotland... but, to me, this show feels different from the rest, more commercial and crowd-pleasing than the rest, focused on the tradition and history of the place rather than its economics.
** There is also the connundrum of closing the show with a child. A catwalk featuring grown women and then a child. The meanings are endless and, needless to say, not cool.