THERE can’t be many better places to spend a Tuesday morning than at the Brasserie Gabrielle. With a multimillion pound budget, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into the chicest – and largest – of Parisian cafes, complete with mosaic tiled floor – OK, it actually turned out to be printed vinyl, but this is a cafe after all, wipe clean is important.
Bow-tied waiters busied themselves cleaning glasses and making coffees from behind a wood panelled counter where baskets of pastries, boiled eggs and toast, and other delights were left to tempt. Models entered through revolving doors and took their seats around white tablecloth banquettes, they plonked down their Chanel bags and read Le Figaro or browsed the CC menu while tapping away on smartphones waiting for other model friends to join them. The fact that Gabrielle Chanel was central to glittering Café Society, where artists, actors, writers and intellects mingled, is well documented, and with Chanel’s Café Society line of jewellery set to launch, it’s little wonder why Lagerfeld tapped into this buzzy scene.
Arguably the clothes were as creative now as they were back then, take the jaunty knitted sweater tied around the neck for example, it boasted a neat pouch at the back in which to slot a newspaper (well, in these circles you’re nothing if not well read). There were tweedy skirt suits updated with padded bow tie-shaped quilting on shoulders and sleeves, while other longer midi-length tweed skirts were layered over slim black trousers cuffed in lace. For the weekend, Lagerfeld offered a sweet pink sweater dress decorated with a pearl harness, or a pair of cropped and flared indigo jeans, partnered up with a gold medallion coin belt and metallic cardigan propped just so over shoulders. Come night-time, those long ivory silk skirts crafted from layer upon layer of napkin-sized silk squares took on an apron look. Albeit, the very smartest of aprons.
Finally, following previous accessory hits – the shopping basket, milk carton pouch, graffiti backpack – this season’s witty bag? The Assiete, a bistro plate clutch of course.