Greece has always enjoyed a reputation as an exotic getaway among fashion’s elite. Whether it’s Valentino’s regular jaunts to Mykonos or Mary Katrantzou hanging out in her hometown; sun, sea and balmy nights are a firm favourite amongst the jet-setters of the industry. With summer still a little far away, Chanel brought the magic of Greece to the people of Paris.
For Chanel Cruise 2018, Karl Lagerfeld delved into the country’s rich history and drew inspiration from ancient costume and traditional design. In spite of staging the event in Paris, Lagerfeld erected a near replica of the Parthenon as a scene for the Chanel Cruise 2018 collection.
Entitled ‘The Modernity of Antiquity’, Lagerfeld chose to present an idealised version of Greece – the glamour and splendour of both the collection, and the after-party (in which the 800 guests were invited to feast at a sumptuous banquet) were notably at odds with the reality of the situation in the country at the moment. But then again, Lagerfeld is not one for coveting reality; previous Chanel shows have been staged in locations as disparate as Havana, Seoul, Dubai and Singapore, while RTW collections have been staged against backdrops of rockets, casinos, protests and the rubble of a faux bombed-out theatre.
The collection itself was classically Greek. Gladiator sandal straps snaked up legs, white crepe dresses hung mythically across shoulders and gold headbands all harked back to an era of Troy and the Greek Gods. Classic tweeds were imagined in soft turquoises and terracotta hues; splashes of colour and gold prints added a sense of modernity to the mix, offering interesting juxtapositions. Elsewhere brocade detail was mixed with pleated skirts rendered in flaxen gold, a tribute to decadent narratives from the past.
The decision to stage the Cruise show in Paris has been a conversation point for many – having previously taken audiences to more remote locations, the return to the French capital could perhaps be seen as a demonstration of confidence and commitment to Paris. Against a backdrop of terrorist attacks and a polarising election, this positive press will undoubtedly be welcomed by many.
See highlights from the Chanel Cruise 2018 collection below