For the Chanel cruise 2018 collection, Karl Lagerfeld brought Greece to Paris. The Chanel fashion show which also marked the start of cruise season – titled “The Modernity of Antiquity” – was conceived as an imaginary voyage to an idealized Greece. The designer conjured a replica of the Temple of Poseidon in the Galerie Courbe at the Grand Palais, where guests struck tourist poses against a movie-set backdrop of crumbling seaside ruins.

Banks of powerful lights created the illusion of Mediterranean sun, in contrast to the gray and drizzly sky that lurked behind the venue’s skylight, bathing a parade of modern-day goddesses strapped into colorful high-heeled gladiator sandals. After all, Lagerfeld said, it’s all about make-believe.

Echoing the Hellenic spirit of the show, the models’ eyes were intensified with broad strokes of black eyeliner, drawn on like oversized calligraphy, one line tracing the bottom of the eye and one the top, flicked at the edge for a feline feel, a look created by Tom Pecheux. As for the hair, Sam McKnight unleashed a whole host of accessories; braided headbands covered in gold pieces and black satin ribbons decorated the hairstyles which themselves where left loose and braided here and there. McKnight used Cool Girl Hair, a texturizing spray from his forthcoming line, to add a little bit of light hold and definition to the hair. Overall, a look perfect for modern goddesses.

“I see Greece as the origin of beauty and culture, where there was a wonderful freedom of movement that has since vanished”, he explained. Of course, freedom of movement these days might also be read as the liberty to navigate between high street and couture… The criteria of beauty in ancient, then classical, Greece still holds true. There have never been more beautiful representations of women. Or more beautiful columns. The entire Renaissance, in fact, was based on Antiquity. It is really about the youth of the world in all its power and unpredictability — just like the unforgiving gods,” he said.

Backstage at Chanel Cruise 2018

Per tradition, there was a link between the season’s theme and the personal mythology of founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, whose strong personality and glittering circle of friends has been a steady font of inspiration to Lagerfeld since he took over as couturier in 1983.

The invitation featured a headless Greco-Roman statue of Venus, which is kept in Chanel’s apartment at the brand’s headquarters on Rue Cambon. The show notes pointed out that Chanel also designed the costumes for French poet Jean Cocteau’s revival of the Greek tragedy “Antigone” in 1922.

Lagerfeld is no stranger to a Greek theme. His photographic oeuvre includes a series of glass panels portraying “The Voyage of Ulysses,” as well as his interpretation of the classic romantic novel “Daphnis and Chloe,” featuring models including Baptiste Giabiconi and Bianca Balti in pleated white togas.

“I’m expressing through fashion a fascination I’ve had since childhood. The first book I read was Homer,” said Lagerfeld, who discovered the story of the Trojan War aged seven in a volume set “bound in slightly lilac-hued leather with Greek motifs stamped in gold and a neoclassic graphic style”. In an age of Insta-gratification, it made for a powerful ode to culture. With a capital C!

“I’m suggesting going back to move forward.
To create the future, you have to pay attention to the past”

Karl Lagerfeld