For Chanel's Fall 2012 Couture show, Karl Lagerfeld threw a garden party in Paris's Grand Palais — complete with wicker chairs, bushes of camellias, plates of macarons, and a ceiling painted to look like the sky.
The show, themed "new vintage," was an homage to Chanel's design history. Lagerfeld remade Coco Chanel's classic jackets in pink-and-gray tweed, then added tulle to their wrists and hems. Other versions of the jacket were cinched at the waist with metal belts and paired with tweed skirts or flowing, printed pants, and a double-breasted variation on the theme was shown with metallic fingerless gloves.
The collection's dresses were eye-catching — one combined jagged layers of gray tulle and stiff pink ribbon to create horizontal stripes, while a few others used tulle to accentuate the shoulders. Anna Wintour and her daughter, Bee Shaffer, were seen whispering to each other as a model walked past them. Lagerfeld attributed the hushed excitement his collections receive to the hard work of the seamstresses in his atelier. "They toil over the clothes. The tulle with pearl took 3,000 hours," he said. "Couture is for a world of privilege."
That privilege must extend to getting to touch the clothes before anyone else does. As Lindsey Wixson walked past in the "tulle with pearl" dress at the end of the show, its train brushed the wicker chairs in the front row.