For the presentation of its Cruise 2015/16 collection, Chanel heads to the ultra futuristic Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) – the Zaha Hadid-designed exhibition and performance space – in Seoul, South Korea. Structured silhouettes in sweet, eye-popping hues effortlessly marry South Korean influences with Chanel hallmarks. The mood proves energetic with avant-garde leanings, as Karl Lagerfeld revisits local culture in a broad sense, from traditional dress (the hanbok) to sugary K-Pop aesthetics.

Here, the occasional camellia or stylized locked-Cs motif erupts on a multicolor stripe; there, subtle geometric patchworks brim with a color-rush of fuchsia pink, celadon and mint green, bright orange and coral, royal blue and turquoise, with the same tones flavoring tweeds or played out as single shades on jackets, suits and dresses. Korean-style jackets with round shoulders and wide sleeves sport raised or crossing collars that act as flattering frames for the base of the neck. Skirts are straight or flared, falling just above the knee; pants are cropped and wide or fitted at the ankle. Solid and airy materials mingle on looks, from broderie anglaise, textured cotton and patent leather to linen, organza, tulle, lace and shantung. A sprinkling of monochrome silhouettes mark the shift from day to night, with in the after-dark camp airy creations in floral and geometric embroideries by Maison Lesage, Maison Lemarié and Montex. Peter Pan collars interact with bustiers while high waists (sometimes ending above the bust line) come accented with a strip of grosgrain ribbon or velvet.

Bold jewelry designs – from chunky chain necklaces and bracelets in gold and colored metals to sugary cuffs, baroque pendants and stylized camellias with graphic forms pinned in the hair and on clothes – adorn the outfits, punctuated by heels with squared-off toes or patent-leather Mary-Janes with built-in socks. The house’s iconic bag sports all-over sequin embroidery or comes revisited in multicolored tweed, interspersed with clutches and decorative minaudières.

Graphic looks, refined volumes, abstract motifs, bright color palette -drawn from the Korean aesthetic repertoire- the new Cruise collection transcribes the Chanel vocabulary, resolutely cosmopolitan and contemporary.

Françoise-Claire Prodhon