Spring-Summer 2011 Ready-to-Wear, interview of Karl Lagerfeld
Window display at Le Bon Marché, Paris: Chanel plays with the codes of the iconic 2.55 handbag.Exhibition "Le Bon Marché fait son Numéro" until October 16thLe Bon Marché
24, rue de Sèvres
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.