9am: I arrive backstage at the Grand Palais for my very first Chanel show to find a wonderfully hectic scene of models in make up, dressers going through the show clothes, catering setting up a nice breakfast, the orchestra practicing in the background. Call time was 5.30am, so right now I’m just witnessing the finishing touches.
9.15am: There’s a final run-through. As Chanel is using the entire Grand Palais for the first time, there will be an epic 84 models, so the choreography needs to be perfect. Even without the clothes on, it already looks and sounds amazing! I am introduced to Karl Lagerfeld, who overlooks the entire scene himself.
9.30am: People have already started arriving at the door, even though the show doesn’t start for another hour. Inside there’s a quiet before the storm, so I go outside to start taking pictures of the crowd, but it starts raining and umbrellas are blocking my view. The Chanel crowd is incredibly stylish and often dressed in the label head-to-toe. It is a truly amazing sight! I run into blogger extraordinaire Bryanboy backstage, looking amazing!
10.15am: Things are really starting to kick off now. Outside the queues are getting long, backstage the models are having their makeup finished and relaxing for a few minutes before the craziness kicks off. People start entering the venue and everyone appears in awe of the grandness of the venue this season.
10.30am: The Grand Palais is filling up quickly and the celebrities keep arriving one by one. My seat is right next to where they get photographed, so I have a prime view. Alexa Chung, Lily Allen, Rachel Bilson, Vanessa Paradis, Keira Knightley, Lou Doillon, Virginie Ledoyen – to name a few. The stream of beautiful, Chanel-clad girls seems never-ending! The gorgeous Claudia Schiffer arrives in front of me causing a bit of a pap scrum.
11.05am: Showtime! The orchestra starts up and the models come from both sides of their stage. The huge collection moved through a variety of the classic Chanel tweeds in black & white and summery pastel colours to floaty chiffon floral dresses, finishing with an all-black eveningwear finale (except for a lone amazing feathered apricot creation). I fell in love with the chunky platform sandals, which seemed so comfy - no stiletto heel in sight! The entire crowd melted when supermodel Brad brought his adorable 2-year old son along with him on the catwalk, dressed in the exact same outfits. Original Chanel-muse Inès de la Fressange also received applause when she made her appearance in the finale with a huge grin on her face. Along the orchestra playing The Verve’s Bittersweet Symphony, Karl took his bow with his ‘court’ in tow, followed by the rest of the models. The whole scene gave me Goosebumps; this was a true Fashion Moment.
11.25am: Post-show cocktail, and there’s chaos as everyone wants to photograph or interview the many celebrities. People are climbing on top of the fountain to film; others are desperately trying to get backstage. There are cameras and microphones everywhere, and everyone is waiting for the man of the hour, Karl Lagerfeld, to come out. He eventually does, poses with some of his muses, like Keira Knightley, then talks to the assembled press.
1pm: The Grand Palais is slowly starting to empty. Karl Lagerfeld is still doing interviews, as he will be doing most of the afternoon, but my camera has now died and it is time for a much-needed break. Outside there’s still a crowd trying to get a whiff of the Chanel vibe, trendspotters are hoping to snap stylish people, tourists are posing with the Chanel sign. But the show is over, so armed with a camera full of amazing memories – and a goodie bag full of Chanel Make Up – I regretfully have to say goodbye to the Grand Palais and my first ever Chanel show.
Photographed by Delphine Achard
Pictures of the dress created by Karl Lagerfeld for Léa Seydoux in Louis Garrel's movie "Le Petit Tailleur".
Movie distributed by MK2 Diffusion, now in theaters
Celebrity comments on the Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear show
Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear, Grand Palais, October 5th
GALERIE JÉRÔME DE NOIRMONT
It's my French art dealer, I have been working with Jerôme de Noirmont since 2002 and he has been a great supporter of my work. I am the youngest artist of his gallery, as they represent Jeff Koons, Shirine Neshat and Pierre et Gilles, who are great artists that are inspirational to me and that I look up to. We are going to prepare a solo exhibition for spring 2011 which will be my 4th solo show with the gallery.
Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont
38 Avenue Matignon
It's one of my favorite places in Paris, as it's very close to my house and they are open all day, therefore very convenient for meetings, afternoon teas and a hang out place to read books. I like the architectural space of that restaurant, it's got 3 layers, 3 depths, while sitting there, one could imagine a waterfall running down from the stairs, birds flying in and out of the windows that surround the space.
Restaurant "La Société"
4 Place Saint Germain
75006 ParisLA HUNE
It's my favorite bookstore in Paris. I like the sociology and philosophy section in there. After my graduation at the American university, I have been able to deepen my knowledge of contemporary French philosophy thanks to the corner devoted to it in the bookstore la Hune. It's open until midnight on weekdays, therefore, it's a great pit stop even after dinner to resource some food for thought.
170 Boulevard Saint Germain
75006 ParisCHEZ SARAH
It's my favorite vintage clothing stand at the Fleat market. The woman who owns the stand has the best eye and aesthetics. Although her stand is a reference place for lots of fashion designers, she preserves her eye from any fashion contamination by not watching TV or reading newspapers/magazines, so that her eye and vision can always stay pure. It's a quite an interesting approach since we live in a world in which we are constantly polluted by information.
It's one of my favorite cinemas in Paris, due to its multimedia facilities and its DVD store assembling the best MK2 movie collections. It's also the venue where I will be screening a "retrospective" of my films at a special cocktail event that MK2 will be devoting to my work on December 6th.
128 Avenue de France
75013 Paris WEPLER
It's my favorite brasserie in Paris, they serve the best hamburgers. It's located near Montmartre, Pigalle, Moulin Rouge, La Cigale and La Fourmi: places that fill in my imagination and inspiration as an artist.
14 Avenue de Clichy
75018 ParisLE MUSÉE GUSTAVE MOREAU
It displays a large collection of paintings, studies and drawings by Gustave Moreau, whose work is one of my inspirations. I can feel the pain and the cries in his works. While walking through the museum, the pain and the vision from his paintings stand out as if one experiences a 3D effect.
Le musée Gustave Moreau
14 Rue La Rochefoucauld
75009 ParisLIBRAIRIE 7L
It's Karl Lagerfeld's bookstore, and it’s very close to my house. I’ve collected books since I was a child and 7L has the most cutting edge selection mixed with mainstream pieces. Each piece seems to be selected with love and for the sake of culture.
7 Rue de Lille
75007 ParisPREMIÈRE HEURE
It's my favorite production house in Paris. They offer the best 3D/CG, editing and production facilities. Every person working at Premiere Heure is a great inspiration for artists and directors as they not only provide production and post production services, but they also engage into a long term dialogue with creative people in order to create a unique "savoir-faire". I have recently partnered with Premiere Heure and have opened its Chinese division.
23 Avenue Bernard Palissy
Grand Palais, Paris, October 5th
What happened to the Grand Palais? Erased, vaporised, replaced by a stone dream, an extraordinary 18th century garden, which is also a cinematographic experience... Tuesday October 5th, 2800 unbelievably calm spectators, fascinated like children, are fixed in time. Something special is happening. There is elegance. There is poetry. Three fountains flow, the Lamoureux symphony orchestra and its 80 morning-coated musicians provide an offbeat magical note for the show. We are definitely with Chanel, in 2011, we are also on the set of Last Year at Marienbad, directed by Alain Resnais in 1960, and with Kubrick, during his 2001: A Space Odyssey period, all of which creates a mildly anachronistic sense of excitement. It’s a mythical age, where women are nonchalantly erotic, impish but elegant, ethereal and intense. Like this Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear collection. The image of the Chanel woman is Delphine Seyrig in Marienbad (dressed for the film by Chanel), but also Freja Beha, Stella Tennant and Inès de la Fressange, worshipped with lengthy applause, a wonderfully stylish vision, in a long black evening dress, embroidery, transparent layers and satin ballet shoes.
The keyword for the collection is lightness. Lightweight fabrics, an abundance of voile in black or decorated with exquisite patterns, delicate meshes of fine tulle. A profusion of feathers, for both day and evening, feathers embroidered on tweed, on the bottom of short dresses and perfect feather ruffs, feather sleeves, feathers everywhere – take, for example, the pale orange ostrich feather dress - so simple, so sensual.
Creating desire means revealing, but concealing even more: pale grey or white jeans with holes, cleverly placed tears in a jacket, here and there, suggesting the skin below. A sequence creates a trance, the transparency of a voile dress which shows almost everything but almost nothing. Emotion. One of the collection’s emblematic pieces are mini-shorts, or rather tailored mini-shorts. We love it. It’s daring, it’s young, it’s irresistible. The model in braided tweed with metallic silver, a loose-fitting jacket and the purity of bright white stylishly redefines what, up until now, in the street, could not be described as overwhelming elegance... this playful micro-garment is no longer reserved for young girls, for Chanel it has become perfectly suitable.
In wooden wedges, embroidered boots or tantalising black leather thigh boots, in a midnight blue knit dress with a V-shaped hem, or a tweed dévorée dress, the Chanel woman knows that she is expected, she moves at her own pace. Like Karl Lagerfeld and this collection, she is a stranger to nostalgia. She appears to float towards what awaits her, a future whose only direction is freedom. And desire. Like Delphine Seyrig, the quiet muse behind this grandiose and intimate show.
"As if the floor was still coarse sand, flagstones on which I walked to meet you once again..."
Photos: Olivier Saillant
Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear show, Grand Palais, Paris
Photos: Frédéric David
Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear
Studio 7L, Paris
Photos: Olivier Saillant