Video: We Do Dream Dress-Up With Chanel Couture, SS16

Jess Wood

Even by couture standards, the house of Chanel stands alone when it comes to heart-stopping dream dresses. A few years ago, when the art of couture was said to be dying on its (well-shod) feet, it was Karl Lagerfeld who came riding to the rescue, announcing that Chanel had bought each of the independent ateliers who produce specialist artisan work for all the design houses who do couture collections. Thanks to the Karl Intervention, the workshops of Lemarie (feathers), Lesage (embroidery) et al survived to hand-embellish into a new era.

When you've saved a dying art and you've got dresses that have taken 300 hours of work, it would be a shame to make them plod down any old runway. An ethos that Monsieur L has taken - and run with. Yup, the sets for his ready-to-wear shows are something to behold (a whole Boulevard Chanel complete with Cara Delevigne staging a street protest, or a supermarket stacked with CC-branded household products, anyone?) but some of the greatest spectaculars are saved for couture.

We've had a 40-foot high, 8-tonne golden lion, we've had giant futuristic computerised flowers...for the SS16 couture show, the Grand Palais was decked out in eco chic, Karl style. A large wooden structure built from timber and cane, sat amongst green plants and lawns aplenty, with a promise that the whole thing would be recycled following the show.

But spectacles and Kendall Jenner catwalk moments aside, what are these fashion works of art actually like - to wear?
We and our very lucky model were ushered within stroking distance of a few million pounds worth of hand-worked dresses from the SS16 collection.

One minute, 10 couture looks (and two trusty Chanel dressing fairies) the video above to see the kind of trying-on session that generally only occurs in dreams...


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Sunday 28 August

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