Runway Report: CHANEL Spring/Summer 2019

Be forewarned darlings, this review of the CHANEL Spring-Summer 2019 Prêt-à-Porter collection is going to be down-right gushing. Leave it to Monsieur Lagerfeld to create a collection that so flawlessly encapsulates the warm summer sun, golden sand, and French joie de vivre. Having turned the Grand Palais into “la plage” complete with pristine sand, gentle lapping waves, boardwalk, and a charming little beach hut, there was an air of gaiety about both the day and collection thanks to the idyllic setting.

With a color palette of sunshine yellow, golden sand, tan beige, pink, blue, iced mint, mother-of-pearl white, navy blue, and black, one cannot help but think of the summer sky from hazy mornings and bright afternoons to pastel sunsets and inky dark nights. A whimsical yet no less elegant parasol print on chiffon and embroideries of sand and seashells add a thematic joyfulness to the collection that also features fabrications of classic CHANEL tweed, chiffon, lace, leather, denim and the consummate summer fabrics of cotton serge and poplin. And speaking of classic CHANEL, Spring-Summer 2019 brings the iconic suit with wide shoulders and flared sleeves for the jackets. Paired with either oversized trousers or skirts featuring side slits or of the mini variety. The dramatic proportion of the suit pants prove to be a wonderful foil to the leggings and cycling shorts that are also featured throughout the collection. Jeans, a must have wardrobe staple that even the venerable House of CHANEL can’t ignore, are elegantly styled with belted cardigans and even swimwear for that yacht to town look that Mademoiselle CHANEL would have so perfectly evoked herself disembarking from the Duke of Westminster’s vessel “The Flying Cloud.”

And what would a Spring-Summer collection be without dresses? For 2019, Lagerfeld has imagined both day and evening dresses. Chic little vest dresses are done in white tweed and feature nautical inspired stipes that were so beloved by Mademoiselle herself as well as delicate embroidery and sequins. Other dresses are reminiscent of towels knotted around the chest and are smartly held up with seashell necklace straps but are as elegant as one would expect from a CHANEL collection. Calling them “robes cabanes”, Monsieur Lagerfeld has elevated the humble cabin dress by showing them in sweetly feminine pink tweed with frothy lace ruffles for day. For evening, they are  adorned with intricate chiffon ribbons and are a true confection of beauty and elegance.

In a collection that is truly so perfectly executed, it’s difficult to pick favorite pieces or looks. In fact, simply narrowing the photos to share in this very post proved to be a difficult task. Spring-Summer 2019 represents all of the best of the House of CHANEL under the expert direction of Karl Lagerfeld. It was both an homage to the vision Mademoiselle Chanel, the very one that so broke convention and secured her place as fashion royalty, as well as the best of Lagerfeld himself. The pieces are his expert mix of the classic and the contemporary, the masculine and the feminine, and even tapped into his own cannon of work for the house that has secured his place as well in the hearts and wardrobes of so many devoted clients and admirers. From even the most fleeting glance at the pieces he designs, it is evident that Lagerfeld loves dressing women. His designs celebrate both the female shape and celebrate the power of women – they are a sartorial celebration of femininity. Yet one should not confuse femininity with weakness. The CHANEL woman is one who Mademoiselle first started designing for so many decades ago, and who Monsieur Lagerfeld continues to design for today. She is a woman who is confident in herself and her powers. And as much as Monsieur Lagerfeld clearly loves creating incredible confections for his clients, his clients are so deeply supportive of both the House and the designer. I am always so struck by the incredible love that it shown by the attendees at the end of a CHANEL presentation. The crowd never fails to take to their feet to show their admiration and adoration, enthusiastically applauding and sending waves, warmth, and bisous to Lagerfeld for yet another masterful collection.

As for accessories, they are simply so exquisite that they demand their own dedicated post lest they not receive the attention they so properly deserve. However,  I will say that this season is a standout amongst so many incredible seasons past.

Photography: CHANEL