January 28th, 2013 – Couture gowns do not belong on the runway. They belong on the stage. And nobody understands the theatrics of Haute Couture better than Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director and visionary for Chanel, who explained “I saw it in my dream, put it on my paper, gave it to the man that builds my set, and I think he worked it out beautifully.” Lagerfield transformed his dream, into an artistic instrument, which he then used to metamorphose Grand Palais in Paris into a dazzling forest wonderland to display Chanel’s Spring 2013 Haute Couture collection.
Lagerfield has reinvented the runway of the Grand Palais in the past. Once the designer whipped the space into a charming Alice-like tea time feast, another time Lagerfield created an Antarctic wonderland – glacier included. This season, the models walked the sandy runway to the sound of chirping birds, surrounded by a pine scented forest. The towering trees reach up towards the iron, steel, and glass barrel-vaulted roof, giving the entire space an imaginative green house feel.
“This is not a usual runway situation, one after the other, in a kind of military speed.” Lagerfield noted “This was a more romantic catwalk.” The designer used the ground space of the famous Beaux-Arts structure to create a more organic place for the models to walk, instead of the traditional linear catwalk. The set designer connected wood fencing together and wrapped it around the circular runway, which leads to the main amphitheater, where guests have joined to witness the collection. The fencing is a suitable way to enhance the forest aesthetic while creating a separation from the bustling backstage antics and the show’s front-of-house dramatics.
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