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Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear


BY Katharine K. Zarrella

October 4, 2016

•Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached the motherboard. 

•For Spring 2017, Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel turned Paris’ Grand Palais into what they called the Chanel Data Center. The set was replete with flickering screens covered with code, clear walls inset with colored cables, and stark brushed-steel structures. 

•It somehow felt more like a supercomputer center from the early 1990s than a modern-day digital Mecca—a throwback that was echoed by the sideways tweed baseball caps, oversized, sometimes bedazzled chains, hoodies, and giant earrings—but the focus here was clearly the world of tech, and our reliance on it. 

•With that in mind, you have to imagine Lagerfeld chuckled while watching the show from backstage, because as the first models walked out, dressed as white robots, no less, nearly every audience member raised a smartphone to capture the moment. (I mean, come on, what were we supposed to do, not share Chanel robots on social media?) Actually, when I think about it, that was pretty robotic. It was like something out of a horror film or that show Black Mirror. The computers have won.

•The handbags were thoroughly amusing. One style came with flashing, LED-light logos. Another was shaped like a friendly little robot and had double-C wire detailing. 

•It’s also worth noting that there were a lot of lacy lingerie moments in this collection, a theme that carried over from Fendi, though these iterations were more delicate and, of course, more French.

•It’s perhaps ironic that these clothes were so clearly created with a human touch. Yes, tweeds were made to look like frayed wires or grids, colors were electric, like what you might find on your computer’s factory-set screen saver, intricate beading recalled strands of code, and neon graphics looked like lasers, but the craftsmanship here—like in all of Chanel’s collections—was a reminder that you can’t necessarily 3D print luxury. Luxury needs a little soul. 


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