Were they practical raincoats with a high-end price tag or tailored jackets that just happened to ward off water? Sensible waterproof boots with a luxe logo or a variation on a classic style that just happened to show more pin skin than usual?
These were just some of the head scratch twitterings between editors immediately after the Chanel Spring/Summer 2018 runway show, held in what felt like a giant terrarium – recycled waterfall, live plants, wooden deck and appropriate humidity – inside Paris’ magnificent Grand Palais.
Commercial as the plastic fantastic-themed collection might be, some were surprised at creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s fabric of choice this season: transparent plastic. It featured on everything from jackets to flat-brimmed hats, long gloves, high boots, hair clasps, handbags and totes whose contents will leave nothing to the imagination.
So why centre around such a practical material for this collection? As this video (below) of Lagerfeld himself filmed after the show explains, it was its likeness to water rather than protective use against it that caught his attention. “There is no life without water,” said the design legend. “And all the transparent boots and gloves are like water.”
As for those practical versus provocative queries, Lagerfeld’s opinion is clear. “It has to be 50 50 no? Because to do only creative stuff that nobody wears is not the spirit of Chanel. Chanel is about putting it on your back.” And in this case, on your head, arms and feet when the summer weather’s inclement.
WATCH KARL LAGERFELD EXPLAIN HIS CHANEL SS18 SHOW HERE: