Three of the biggest shows this Resort season were courtesy of Chanel, Dior and Gucci — not just because they are global heavyweights, but also because of the spectacular locations where their presentations were held.
For Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld hosted some 700 guests in Cuba and drove them to the open-air street show in a convoy of the city’s iconic classic cars. Not to be overshadowed, Dior’s guests boarded The Dior Express, a fully kitted-out train, that took them to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. Elsewhere in England, Gucci became the first ever fashion house to stage a runway show at the historic Westminster Abbey.
First up was Chanel where — per the official hashtag for the evening’s events, “#cococuba” — Lagerfeld blended French and Cuban influences beautifully. Set in the historic Paseo del Prado, the show opened with an array of black and white ensembles with light riffs on classic Cuban silhouettes. Then came skinny sequin dresses with dense layers of tattered fabric — an homage to Hispanic ruffles — and flouncy dresses in ‘50s car prints. As a reflection of Havana’s cityscape, “the palette [was] inspired by the vibrant baroque façades of the old town.”
But the recurring symbol of French-Cuban entente cordiale was the beret. Some models wore a “sequinned black beret irreverently evoking ‘Commander’ Che Guevara,” as well as panama hats with Chanel camellias tucked into the hatbands. Pearls were the gemstone of the hour, with strands and pendant choker iterations in soft shades of peach and seafoam green draped on the necks of the girls. All in all, the looks and vibe of the show were joyful, youthful and easy — so much so that it ended with a street dance party.
At Dior, Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux presented a collection that was “an homage to the ongoing creative and cultural exchange between France and the UK.” In typical Dior style, this translated to feminine silhouettes in the form of coatdresses that the brand is known for, alongside full printed silk skirts, white blouses, flare pants and tea dresses. Pieces were straightforward and easy-to-wear, but nothing really to shout about. As a place-holding collection, the looks almost paled in comparison to the grandeur of the surroundings. Accessories-wise, handbags were on point, with options ranging from sequinned top handles to one shoulder satchels that we’re sure to see on the arms of It-girls and celebrities in the coming months. In addition, models wore large, futuristic-looking pendant necklaces tightly around their necks; although the pairing with the flirty, relaxed look of the clothes was somewhat vague.
For Gucci, models strutted down the Cloisters of the church as the dramatic setting served to enhance Alessandro Michele’s mesmeric show of 96 looks. Taking a quirky, light-hearted approach to the country’s fashion legacy, there were ‘90s Spice Girl platform boots and Union Jack sweaters; punk plaids and stone-washed jeans; and grannies in Thatcher-esque silk dresses and retro cat-eye lenses. The scene was awash in colourful check prints, floral embroideries, frills, polka dots and numerous animal motifs in the form of peacocks, snakes, cats and our favourite – the Victorian Staffordshire terrier.
The accessories were as covetable as ever. With so much going on with the clothes, Michele slipped statement rings and shoulder-grazing earrings on his girls. Other highlights were the footwear and bags, from metallic strappy sandals teamed with ruffled tube socks, to the sought-after Dionysus embellished with multicolour crystals. For final touches, Michele added any number of unexpected accessories: straw boater hats, fingerless gloves, lace hosiery, headscarves and more.
Still, in all its unashamed maximalism, the show was seen as a continuation of the excess and eccentricity that Michele has come to be known for, and what people have come to love. Even if an outfit put you off, there was at least one thing, something accessible, to pull you in.
Image opener: CHANEL Resort 2017
All images courtesy of the brands mentioned