Newspaper article International New York Times

Odes to the Natural World

Newspaper article International New York Times

Odes to the Natural World

Article excerpt

Karl Lagerfeld created wood-accented clothes, Giambattista Valli reveled in flowers and Bouchra Jarrar took a bit of a feral turn.

The climate change conference held in Paris late last year represented many things -- a political breakthrough, the first real global agreement on the subject, a triumphant narrative for France after the tragedy of the November attacks -- but for some in fashion it was also an inspiration.

Witness the Norwegian country house and garden that Karl Lagerfeld constructed under the cavernous glass ceiling of the Grand Palais for his beguiling "eco-couture" Chanel show, all planed oak and green lawn -- complete with tiny flies that swarmed over the runway -- backed by blue sky. It was so verdant, Cara Delevingne's 4- month-old puppy, which the model/actress brought along to her front- row seat, had to stop to pee on the grass.

And while it is probably more eco-friendly to use what was once a chunk of forest for something longer lasting than a fashion show, a spokeswoman for Chanel said it would all be recycled after the collections, and composted, though she could not be more specific than that.

The recycling was a good idea, though even better were the clothes on the runway.

Working with an elongated silhouette, either via blouson boucle jackets shot through with metallic glints narrowing to midcalf skirts underneath, or squared-off tops over generous culottes and full skirts (for day), and chiffon-light gowns (for evening), Mr. Lagerfeld offered up a master class in the extraordinary abilities of the couture atelier. Using a palette of white, black and all shades of wood from the lightest ash to mahogany, he melded wood chips and beads and shavings with sparkling paillettes to create a new kind of ode to the natural world.

Wood tiles made a mosaic on a long vest, worn over a silver satin blouse and skinny tweed skirt. Wood scallops were layered like feathers to form the hem of another sinuous underskirt topped by a sheer shell-pink tunic trimmed in the same scallops, which also formed a scrim over the shoulders. Tiny wood pearls belted the dropped waist and lined the cowl back of a nude chiffon cocktail dress. …

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