A GOTHIC take on A Midsummer Night’s Dreamwas what Karl Lagerfeld had in mind for his spring/summer 2013 couture show for Chanel this morning. And a dream it certainly was. We stepped into an enchanted forest beneath the dome of the Grand Palais and into a world seemingly straight from the pages of Shakespeare, a wooden auditorium surrounding us, and edgy fairies about to come to life before us.
Stella Tennant opened the show in a white tweed cape and jacket hybrid, black feather-painted eye make-up sprawling over her face and more black feathers tumbling from her hair and over an eye to show that these fairy-like creatures weren’t going to be quite as sweet and sugary as we first thought and there was something altogether more sinister about them.
They drifted down the stage in a dreamy way, dancing almost, in ensembles that put emphasis on the shoulders: stole-like affixations that hugged tightly to them; sleeves that stood upright and away from them; off-the-shoulder dresses; or those that descended in trapeze shapes from the shoulders, but left them exposed and bare.
Each look came with courtly peep-toe boots, like something the most glamorous of medieval knights might have worn, tight-like and in silver leather and lace that either climbed the whole length of the leg or came as short ankle boots and matched in decoration the dresses above them.
When it came to the tailoring, it was bell shapes that won out – for skirts that were stiff in structure and for tops that stood away from the body. And when it came to gowns and eveningwear, show-stoppers came by way of toppling white feathers, those black leather booties worn beneath, and a set of Thirties dresses in red and black and white sequins which were particularly special and called to mind something Wallis Simpson might have worn, all perfect flowers splayed out on them and narrow and elegant in shape.
It was all about the idea of the forest – the leaves, the flowers, the feathers and all those mystical and mythical little fairies that might just be hiding in it: Cara Delevingne making for the most popular of them to close the show in a white Miss Havisham-style dress, black eye make-up and black feathers falling from her hair.