The Kaiser following his triumphant Chanel resort show in the Versailles gardens
That ole pile of bricks? Behold, Versailles.
Tourist fact about Versailles: the famed fountains that surround the gardens of the palace of the French kings of yester-centuries would only be turned on only when the royals strode by them. So it made sense that they were turned on as fashion’s king, Karl Lagerfeld, strode by for the bow of his triumphant resort show for Chanel. And, just as significantly, shut off as he and Chanel’s VIPs (Tilda Swinton, Sam Taylor Wood and so forth) made their way down to a specially constructed tent in another part of the gardens.
The show itself, which debuted on a ridiculously glorious spring day, was utterly fabulous. It was Lagerfeld’s commentary on a modern 18th century rebellion, which this palace’s most famous former occupant, Marie Antoinette, knew a thing or two about before she lost her head. So we saw beautiful 18th century silhouettes cut in denim, and quintessential Coco Chanel shapes atop metallic creepers platform shoes made popular by the Punks in Swinging London. Indeed, the hint of bad girl British youth culture was a big theme, from the music (MIA’s lyrics “Live Fast, Die Young” set the tone early on) to the casting: Cara Delevingne opening, a strong appearance from Georgia May Jagger (it was my favorite look: couture quality applique strips of fabric, plastic and sequins worked into separates), and later in the evening a performance from Alice Dellal’s band Thrush Metal.
As with everything Chanel, no expense was spared in the continued festivities, so there were gallons of champagne and soccer sized truffles. Dellal performed as the sun fell behind the tips of the perfectly pruned trees, and I found Karl afterward strolling to his personal golf cart. His favorite part of the show? His references not to Antoinette, but to Madame de Barrie, a consort of Louis XIV, who he’d dress up in men’s clothing. “She was the most beautiful woman in France, and the first fashion icon,” he said. “Marie Antoinette didn’t like her.” It was a show inspired by the first and meant for the next.
Tilda Swinton and Haider Ackerman before the show
Alice Dellal, when she was still dressed like a lady. (Later she ditched the embroidery for lace when she performed with her band, Thrash Metal.)
Harper’s Bazaar’s creative director and Visionaire founder Stephen Gan with the legendary Lynn Wyatt
Jon Kortajarena, who walked the runway holding my new favorite Chanel accessory: a quilted and monogrammed water pitcher, with Karl’s favorite boy (and fellow St. Louis native) Brad Kroenig
Two beautiful flowers in the Versailles gardens: Cara Delevingne and Georgia May Jagger
Trans-Channel beauties: The English rose Laura Bailey and the French, fabulous Caroline de Maigret
Alice Dellal and her band Thrush Metal performing at the afterparty. NOTE: The singer shaved the Chanel logo into the back of his head. Major.
This is how I found Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley after the walk from the show venue to the afterparty, on the other side of the Versailles gardens.
UPDATE: A video of Alice Dellal rocking out with her band Thrush Metal at the show’s afterparty elsewhere in the gardens. Look for cameo’s from her pals Georgia May and Cara.
And finally, the fiercest bitch I found at the Chanel show at Versailles. Isn’t she cute?