The Classics: A Womenswear Editorial Celebrating the Elysian and Mythological Power of Chanel

Last year's Chanel collections explored the idea of a homecoming in many different ways; our shoot with Lena Meyer-Landrut explores the Resort collection's mythological roots.

Designer resort shows are synonymous with exotic locations and jaw-dropping designs, and Chanel is usually no different. But for the brand’s most recent Resort collection, Lagerfeld brought Chanel back to its ancestral home in Paris, for an elysian collection steeped in history. For SLEEK 56 we invited German singer Lena Meyer-Landrut to model a preview of the Resort collection shot by Arianna Lago. The collection — which was inspired by the art and sculpture of Ancient Greece — verges on mythical, producing clothes fit for Aphrodite herself.  

Lagerfeld’s classical renaissance is timely, as recent collections from houses big and small have responded to our desire for nostalgia in the face of a politically and environmentally uncertain future. Chanel chooses to return to the dawn of civilisation, rather than its demise. By casting its models as Goddesses above the mortality of normal earth-dwellers, the collection serves as pure escapism.

The collection showcased the brand’s signature bouclé, which was a welcome addition to the flowing pleated togas, putting a Chanel twist on a 1AD classic. Ruched bikinis were created in earthenware shades, and dresses were made up in museum-worthy Grecian pottery patterns.   

The aesthetic of Chanel and that of Ancient Greece both combine a mutual love of sharp silhouettes and clean lines. The brand first demonstrated their passion for mythological imagery in the 1920s when Gabrielle Chanel designed costumes for John Cocteau’s plays “Oedipus Rex” and “Antigone” in the classical style. These references did not go unnoticed by Lagerfeld, who has always flown the flag for the brand’s strong visual values.

The Resort 2018 collection breaks the fourth wall, transcending the stage and landing on the pages of Sleek. We captured all the BTS action with Lena and the team getting in touch with their celestial side by channelling the spirit of Ancient Greece.

Next on the Chanel European tour was Karl Lagerfeld’s native Germany, where Lena Meyer-Landrut joined Karl to watch the Pre-Fall collection. Models joined a live orchestra on the Elbphilharmonie’s stage, where guests spectated from the tiered balconies as the international fashion spotlight was cast on the city for one special evening.

A homecoming is always a cause for celebration, but this return celebrated the very notion of home itself. Indeed, his native Hamburg has long been respected an epicentre of culture in its own right. The Hamburger Schule broke new ground for German punk and grunge music; Hamburg is also credited as the city where The Beatles underwent their moddish reinvention in the 1960s. Lagerfeld’s love letter to Hamburg was an homage to the German seaport’s sailors, dockworkers and leather-clad night clubbers of the ’60s. Naval knits were used to create dramatic thigh-highs socks and oversized jumpers, while pipe-wielding men where decked out in wide woollen sailing pants. A tweed elbsegler, or sailor cap, was the must-have item from the collection. They were seen on every man, women and even child on the runway; Karl’s 10-year-old nephew, Hudson Kroenig, was the youngest member of the Chanel entourage to sport an elbsegler on the runway. 

The contrast between the two collections couldn’t be more stark. Resort was a superlunary combination of delicate fabrics, swirling patterns and precious jewels, while the Métiers d’Art collection felt intrinsically rooted to the ground it stood on in Hamburg. The dichotomy between the two shows is representative of a much bigger picture, one that substantiates our own “fight or flight” anxieties towards the current political climate and how fashion is now following suit. 

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