A Look Back at Chanel’s Spring 2018 Haute Couture Garden Party

Quite often, providing the breathing space for a work of art to shine is the wisest decision a purveyor of fine art can make. In Chanel’s case, Karl Lagerfeld had the good judgement—which he always has—to stage the house’s Spring 2018 Haute Couture collection in a more understated way.

To start, the set was less grandiose than usual—a Chanel curveball some would say. While the atmosphere may have steered slightly more low-key than in past seasons, it’s still important to applaud the level of detail that went into this “small” Chanel production. Guests, including the likes of Sofia Coppola, Marion Cotillard, and Rita Ora, were treated to an intimate French garden in full bloom, complete with trellis tunnels, ivy foliage, climbing roses, and a fountain at the centre. For Lagerfeld, it was key to create the ultimate French fantasy for spring and showcase looks lighter in spirit than the Hamburg Métiers d’Art collection. The result? A striking, vibrant, and optimistic haute couture collection that drew parallels to the rosy surroundings. The opening looks proved once again that the French house’s iconic tweed can indeed evolve with the times and still take our breath away.

This time around, the garments were transformed in an array of fresh hues, complete with rounded shoulders for an updated silhouette. Standout eveningwear varied from tiered, embroidered cage mini and midi dresses with pocket features to delicious, punchy-coloured narrow chiffon gowns. Each look was conceived to perfection, taking endless hours to complete. Coordinating accessories were also exceptional in their own right, and included Lucite-heeled, sock-esque boots and veiled headpieces with floral appliqués.

From the show’s casting to the ambassadors and friends of the house in attendance, it’s evident that Chanel distinguishes itself by associating with intelligent women, from a wide range of backgrounds, vocations, and age demographics. One of the latest to join the brand is Yara Shahidi, star of Black-ish and, most recently, Grown-ish. For Shahidi, the collection showcased a level of practicality that she related to and, above all, put forward looks that women could envision themselves in. “The [Chanel] woman represents the idea of being self-made. Self-made isn’t the right word, not even self-dependent—self-realized,” says the 18-year-old actor and activist. “In that, there’s a certain semblance of having control over one’s identity and appearance, and taking pride in who we’ve created ourselves to be.”

Actor and activist Yara Shahidi.

Beyond the beautiful garments, haute couture is an institution that promotes savoire faire, and a level of artistry that would fade without the backing of Chanel. “I love that I have the possibility to create whatever I want under the best conditions with the best people. It is a really big luxury,” confesses Karl Lagerfeld.

Given the pace and demanding nature of fashion, the strength and endurance of haute couture is a statement in itself. Going one step further, these magical creations bring comfort and an abundance of inspiration that the fashion world is still hungry for. And where haute couture is concerned, Chanel is undoubtedly the number one authority.

All photos courtesy of Chanel.