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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Chanel: Instagramable!

Karl Lagerfeld is digitally and sartorially savvy

16 Марта 2016

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

In your fashion dreams... everybody is sitting front row on little gilded chairs; all the models' feet in their hybrid lace-up boots are visible; the fabric of each outfit from pink tweed to blue denim is only an arm's length away; and you can count the big, glossy pearls looped across the breasts.

Karl Lagerfeld made that happen at Chanel, with a front-row-only show, where the single line of seating disappeared into the furthest reaches of the Grand Palais as far as the eye could see, as the sun poured through the glass dome. “Everyone is front row — and this is a show about daily life,” said Karl, referring to the “sensible” knee-length skirts that, as the models started their long, snaking walk around the corridors of chairs, could be zippered open. Each woman's choice.

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Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


This was International Women's Day and Karl was on message. But perhaps the real smarts of this show were not in the clothes, which were sporty, modern and offering a long stride in that flat footwear. Nor were they in the careful balance that this collection gave in contrast to the exquisite handwork of Chanel haute couture. They were in the notion that fashion is no longer for the elite. It is open to the social-media- driven wide world.

The show offered a picture-perfect Instagram position for absolutely everybody from Pharrell Williams to Asian clients, from bloggers snapping Anna Wintour with Karl's godson Hudson to Ines de la Fressange and her TV crew, and even to a woman with a fluffy dog that matched her furry handbag. One (or maybe 100) clicks for all.

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

As an Instagramer myself, I am perhaps hyper-sensitive to the changes that the introduction of instantly distributable pictures has made. It is sometimes a tussle for me to decide whether to view the reality of a puffy, pink, silk blouse sleeve emerging from a coral tweed jacket, or whether to let my phone absorb the cheeky flat hat, the suit, the tweed leggings — all before another model stalks by. Was that really a beige Chanel raincoat, its skirt fanning gently into pleats, looking so chic and sleek — even if this is the first dry-weather day of the Paris collections?

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Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


More to the point, now that photos of all the shows are available worldwide within half an hour of the last look leaving the catwalk, how can I keep my personal point of view, my vision of the show through my own eyes? This is how I read the Autumn/Winter 2016-17 Chanel collection, as the models rushed past; Karl's enticing, norm-core chic shows him once again able to move Coco's style into current fashion times.

The inclusion of quilted-jacket effects in leather, big sweat shirts unbuttoned at the back to fall off one shoulder, sweaters with rivets and baggy trousers with digital roses offered a pragmatic way of dressing Chanel. There was nothing too precious, as even the few after-dark outfits were just black or white dresses. But then there were the pearls - Mademoiselle Chanel's hallmark.

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Karl looped the big, fat, gleaming clotted-cream-coloured baubles over everything from tweed to a little black dress to the neckband of a hat. So cool. So Coco. So perfect to Instagram. So smart of Karl.

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Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel, fall 2016 ready-to-wear


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