Paris — Chanel-goers were granted their 15 minutes of fame Tuesday as egalitarian Karl Lagerfeld gave every guest front row tickets. That meant cozying up with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Willow Smith, Chanel's new brand ambassador.
The designer-cum-political philosopher also didn't miss the opportunity to weigh in on his support for Hillary Clinton on International Women's Day, proving that he doesn't just design.
Here are the highlights of fall-winter 2016 shows.
-Chanel's boots are made for walking-
A relaxed approach infused the fall-winter ready-to-wear collection with myriad loose styles and soft huggable sweaters.
"The vibe was much more street than couture salon," said the designer, who paused to sip mineral water from a silver platter backstage at the Grand Palais show.
The exhaustive 93 show looks were highly diverse, and at times hard to pin down.
The running leitmotifs included a hard, boater hat hybrid that used an equestrian-style strap, as well as matching knee-high low-heeled boots.
"There were no high heels. It was really made for walking, like the Nancy Sinatra song," quipped the couturier.
Soft gray sweaters were slung insouciantly across the shoulders, and models in loose-fitting skirt suits snaked around the never-ending front row, with masses of decorative jewelry and beading.
-Karl Lagerfeld talks US politics-
Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld spoke to The Associated Press, voicing his support on International Women's Day for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's and her chances of becoming the first female U.S. president.
"I like the idea," said the 82-year-old feminist, who said that "it's Women's Day every day" in his life.
"I think with the first black president, what they need now is the first woman president. That has to change too," he said.
Lagerfeld ended by quipping about Clinton's Republican and Democratic rivals that "there's nobody else to support anyway."
Who says that fashion isn't political?
-Valentino's Roman delicacy-
The Rome-based atelier of Valentino never strays far from its Italian heritage, always peppering in its Parisian couture roots.
And Tuesday's collection was no exception, taking the classical delicacy — as well as the bold defensiveness — of Roman (or Etruscan) styles and giving them an ethereal, contemporary twist.
The result? One of the most devastatingly beautiful and accomplished fashion displays seen all fall-winter season.
Black plating adorned a jutting A-line mini and sheath-like body armor.
While decorative Roman shapes added color to long, diaphanous silk boho skirts fastened myriad times with ribbons at the waist.
Then there were the classical silk dresses in faded, dusty shades of pink and blue that fluttered by.
They were so delicate and light that when the models walked by, the fabric clung sensually to the body, evoking draping.
-Iris Van Herpen's innner space-
Dutch wunderkind Iris Van Herpen went microscopic on Tuesday, going beyond her signature organic-looking looks to an exploration of inner space.
Using cutting-edge techniques, the award-winning 31-year-old designer produced tactile, three-dimensional contours on micro dresses that mirrored the tectonic, interlocking patterns of organic molecules.
An A-line skirt burst out in a flurry of polygynous shapes like the infinitesimal components of a diamond.
Several dresses in shimmering fabric possessed the marbled iridescence of a sea creature with sensual veiny lines.
And a couple of stand-out tight looks in bright yellow and gray seemed to break out of the organic mold, and echoed almost Burmese styles in their color, pleating and high necks.
It was a focused and quite literally strong, 17-piece collection.