Chanel SS14, Paris
Paris, October 2013. Photos & Editing by Park & Cube. Le obviously.
Can we please just pause for a moment and ponder the man with the lone sunflower stalk? I was running ten minutes late and was trotting up a side road to the Grand Palais when I spotted him, leaning on a rake, looking with complete indifference. I stopped and watched him for a while, it was like an abstract performance; and what did the sunflower mean?
The invitation read Chanel Art… and unmistakeably the entire set was decked out in Karl’s faux art pieces: a bucket of bag chain, brightly painted canvases (canvasi?), a giant No.5 robot… The Grand Palais was transformed into a theme park of sorts, and the guests queued for their turn on the ‘rides’, for a #selfie with the art pieces. In fact, it wouldn’t have been surprising if it was possible to collect your photos at the end of the show.
The collection too was an explosion of textures, shapes and colour: pink nylon strips masterfully woven into the bouclé, two-sided mega bibs, paint-palette eye makeup, graffiti’d boy bags… and towards the end, a celebration of the medium, a tipping out of the craft drawer, so to speak – smeared-charcoal skirts, spray-paint stencilled backpacks adorned with colourful ropes… piled on all together of course, Chanel-style. There was no hidden philosophy in the title, it was, quite delightfully, a play with ideas that typically are associated with ‘Art': galleries, paintings, 3D installations, fabric scraps, paint palette, art school, portfolio. All connected with a bit of Chanel magic and Karl fun – performed at the end by the man himself, who bounced the entire length of the Grand Palais and back, blowing kisses at the audience. I guess I went in expecting a quiz of abstract artistic expression, or a grand nod to some moment in art history, but came out reminiscing my peachy art-school days. I saw the sunflower again on my way out and it was just a happy sunflower. Nothing C’est nes pas un sunflower to it at all.