Chanel’s Pre-Fall Show Was All About India, Cat Power, And Marie Antoinette-Style Feasting

Chanel’s Paris-Bombay Pre-Fall 2012 show in Paris.
Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to over-the-top luxe fashion spectacles of the highest order, no one puts on a show quite like Chanel does. As you know, my Uncle Karl is a genius (that’s Karl Lagerfeld to those of you who have yet to realize that he’s your long lost uncle, too), and he has massive visions of what he wants his fashion shows to look like before he stages them. We’ve seen everything from under the sea mermaid villages to tripped-out garden parties, and he always seems to top himself each season. Even though we’re currently between seasons and have some time before the next fashion week, Chanel decided to show their pre-fall 2012 collection like a massive fash-week bonanza complete with an imagined trip to India and one sumptuous feast of towering delicacies twinkling beneath rows of dripping crystal chandeliers that seemed fit for Marie Antoinette (and the editors who were invited, of course). Not only did King Karl put on a parade of gahhhh-stopping look after look, he threw in some ’90s supermodels like Yasmin Le Bon as well as singer/songwriter Chan Marshall of Cat Power to liven up the Bombay-influenced Parisian palace. Oh, and the clothes? Silver studded, nose-beaded, googly-eye pyramid MAGIC.

From lush gray coats and the pinkest of pale pink eyelet dresses to military-inspired suiting and leather leggings under dresses, there was something for everyone in Chanel’s pre-fall 2012 show. It makes me wonder what we should expect from the actual fall 2012 show at the upcoming Paris Fashion Week when it seems that this early show pulled out all the stops. Not only were there full looks that were topped in Indian-influenced jewels hanging over the forehead, there was also the complete lack of heels in favor of SANDALS (for fall?…in this climate, sure!), flat booties, and cross-body bags with thick straps that mimicked camera bags. All in all, it seemed that travel was on the menu.

Tables set for attendees of the Chanel Paris-Bombay Pre-Fall 2012 show in Paris.
Photo: Getty Images

Along with plates of sandwiches, fruit, and candy piled high among candelabras, tinkling china, and flowers galore, there were silver train sets woven throughout the tables lining the runway. It was like Uncle Karl had both a trip to India as well as a Marie Antoinette-style feast on the brain, even though he told he’s never been to India and tends to live on a signature regimen of steamed foods and Diet Coke.

Detail shots from Chanel’s Paris-Bombay Pre-fall 2012 show in Paris.
Photo: Getty Images

More than just the layers of beautiful (and often textural or sparkly) clothes, it was an accessory-heavy Chanel show with studded and bedazzled bag straps (a first?), oversized bracelets and cuffs, beaded forehead jewels, and small pyramid-shaped bags that just might be 2012’s answer to the tiny clutch. (Is it just me or are some of those jewels actually fancy googly-eyes?) In keeping with the India theme, the models wore dark kohl-rimmed eyes with minimal makeup and, we’re assuming, desert-inspired dreadlocks.

Chan Marshall at the Chanel Paris-Bombay Pre-Fall 2012 show in Paris.
Photo: Getty Images

As one of indie rock/folk’s most respected musicians whose album has been anxiously anticipated for quite some time, it was refreshing to see Cat Power (we mean Chan) out and about again. Could her presence mean that Uncle Karl has switched his allegiance from the lightness of Florence Welch for spring 2012 to the more earthy feel of Cat Power for fall 2012? Guess we’ll have to wait for Paris Fashion Week and see!


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