This year, Chanel’s prefall presentation took a gilded leaf from the antique pages of the Byzantine era. Dubbed the Paris Byzance collection, the stately Rue Cambon couture salons in Paris were transformed into a veritable Ottoman palace for the show, with deeply saturated purples and gold; beaded, sequined curtains and carpets; and walls and stained-glass tables engraved with motifs inspired by Ravenna’s frescos.
Silhouettes were slinky and contemporary, an ultra-feminine reinterpretation of traditional tunics and togas. Asymmetrical draping with loose panels at the front and back featured prominently, and were presented in Chanel’s signature tweed interwoven with satin leather, velvet, cashmere, chiffon and tulle. The detailing was exquisitely wrought: buttons were jeweled stones and the arabesque appliqués were trimmed with gold.
The belts and jewelry, embellished with square glass beads, filigreed gilt metal and enameling, referenced Mademoiselle Chanel’s Byzantine-inspired costume jewelry in the 1920s. On feet, sandals shimmered jewel-like, with mosaic bracelets and arabesque cut-outs. Thigh-high boots glinted with richly colored glass beading. Ballet pumps were tipped with gold filigree, and crafted from luxurious pony skin and crocodile leather.
Bags and minaudières were similarly shot through with Byzantine splendor, gold running through burnt-out tweed, embedded precious stones and embellished braids serving as appliqués.