By Boris Coridian
A ray of sunlight pierces the Parisian skies on a cloudy January 26th, and illuminates the dome of the Grand Palais. Like a reminder of spring in the middle of winter, it signals the start of Karl Lagerfeld’s Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2016 collection show. In an exaltingly bucolic set, a wooden house with closed shutters blends in with the vegetation. The door opens to reveal the first silhouettes. One by one, seeming to slow their pace to better take advantage of the moment, the models wander through this Eden.
To celebrate this rite of spring – a nod to Stravinsky’s work, beloved by Gabrielle Chanel – aerial materials mingle with wooden embroideries. Soft colours, chosen amid beige palettes, are accompanied by gold ornaments. The variations in volume and inverted forms bring to mind the eccentricities of nature – as in these short oval-sleeved jackets whose generous curves contrast with the finesse of pencil skirts. A smartphone cover accessorizes each outfit. A subtle detail to assert that this sweet, timeless collection is also furiously modern. The models pace the catwalk, laid out in wood tiles on the grass, in cork-soled platform pumps. The delicate, poetic silhouette designed by Karl Lagerfeld is completed by an imperial bun and a dab of eyeliner reminiscent of ancient idols.
Bees appear on tulle and muslin, as well as on the jewels. The fabric insects seem to buzz around the long dresses and printed flowers. "I am a bee, that is part of my sign, the Lion, the Sun. Women of this sign are hard-working, courageous, faithful, undaunted. That is my character. I am a bee born under the sign of the Lion", in the words of Coco, queen of the rue Cambon. The bride appears, clad in a dress where natural materials are in marvelous harmony, and the hood of which arouses the curiosity of the audience.
The wooden shutters open slowly on the models for the finale, choreographed by Karl Lagerfeld. The music stops, the applause rises from the stalls, and cries of joy ring out from the backstage. Rays of sunlight now stream onto the set, bringing radiance to the blue of the sky and the green of the lawn where the models walked. The smell of freshly cut grass fills the Grand Palais.