#SuzyPFW Chanel: Off To The Seaside

Water lapping on the sand. Waves breaking. Shoes off! Well, who would want to ruin their classic Chanel court shoes by walking on a sandy beach?

So, instead, the footwear swung in the hands of models who walked the length of a ‘beach’ in Paris’s Grand Palais where Karl Lagerfeld had spun another of his usual magical sets.

And going barefoot was not just for the sake of performance. Pamela Anderson went shoeless (though not topless) to get across to Karl’s little wooden hut by the water. The clothes themselves gave a fresh and spirited look to Chanel – jackets swinging open and free or closed over knee-length stretch leggings. Long skirts were split open at the side, while other pieces were light and layered.

For the designer himself, this Spring/Summer 2019 show was more than just another frolic, following previous installations of a blast-off space rocket and a supermarket.

This time it touched his heart.

The set, with its wind-tossed waves and salty sand, was a recreation of the designer’s holidays as a child on the island of Sylt off the northern coast of Germany where it borders Denmark.

“It is the beach of one of my favourite places – nothing is going on there – no boats because the sea is too rough,” Karl explained.

“I went as a child – and back once for a campaign with Claudia Schiffer and Shalom Harlow,” he continued. “It’s the least polluted place on earth in the middle of the North Sea – in my childhood you had to take little fishing boats to go over. But the same landscape changes every day – the dunes move with the wind.”

Nostalgia is rare emotion from Karl. But his enthusiasm seemed to rub off on the models as they tossed their hair or shook straw hats or caps, all – like many of the accessories and some of the tops – stamped ‘Chanel’. On some the letters would divide in half, suggesting two pieces have to be purchased.

Of course, things do not change so much at the grand French maison. But the overall effect was lightened with suit jackets left open and easy; inserts of lace like peeping underthings; and a palette of pale colours: shell pink, foam white and more naval stripes of red stitching. Eveningwear was black but different textures produced individual shades.

There were little prints of the beach umbrella illustrated on the invitation – yet another chance for Chanel to offer desirable products along with a wave of swimsuits and sandals for its newly launched Coco Beach collection.

It would be hard to find another house that touts its products so elegantly and so widely. As for those shoes swung along by the seashore in the models’ hands – they were front and centre in this offering, served up so lightly on the beach.