Chanel Spring Collection 2018

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Against a majestic waterfall set, Karl Lagerfeld paraded clothes inspired by water, though not in an obvious way.

On Tuesday morning, Karl Lagerfeld, fashion’s own indomitable force of nature, paid tribute to that one identified by da Vinci with a Chanel collection that was all about water. It started with the set. The Grand Palais under Lagerfeld’s watch could be subtitled “The Realm of the Possible,” because he has transformed it variously into an art gallery, underwater world, posh supermarket, Eiffel Tower esplanade and rocket-launching pad.

And now a majestic outdoor retreat, its 50-foot tall, 275-foot wide expanse of faux rock sculpted, varnished polystyrene panels equipped with six points of falling water, the surrounding trees dappling the light. It looked for all the world like a natural wonder. Never mind that it took two months to build and nine days to install. Lagerfeld could not have known when he planned it how right his misen scene’s resonant serenity would feel on this particular morning.

The clothes, too, were inspired by water, though not in an obvious way. Well, not obvious except for the raindrop earrings and repellent plastics for Chanel boaters, boots (many over the knee), handbags and outwear, both functional (hooded capes and anoraks) and decorative (little tippets).

But for the most part, Lagerfeld delivered the motif via fabrics tweeds, laces, knits shot with metallic to glisten and change with movement and subtle shifts of light; sheer, open work constructions, some suggesting ripples, others, fishnet cellophane fringe; abstract watery prints; shaggy fringing that mimicked seaweed.