Chanel’s annual Métiers d’Art show is due to take place in December in an 18th Century castle in Austria – a rococo palace called Schloss Leopoldskron which featured in The Sound of Music no less. Yes, we can always count on Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel to put on a good show.
But what have been the most spectacular fashion spectacles in recent memory? Clue: they involve food, transportation, showmanship, nature and a just a touch of the supernatural to make sure they go off like clockwork.
A recipe for success
If Chanel made supermarkets… Oh right, it did, for autumn/winter 2014. And designer wire shopping baskets in three sizes.
Great minds obviously thought alike because, in the same season, Anya Hindmarch created a catwalk in the guise of a giant barcode, on which models sported bags resembling our favourite cereal packets. Grrrrrrrreat.
Anya Hindmarch AW/14
Chanel’s Paris/Bombay show saw Paris’ Grand Palais transformed into a Maharaja’s banquetting hall complete with a miniature steam train that circumnavigated the central table.
Chanel Métiers d’Art 2011
Planes, trains, automobiles and, erm, bicycles
Staged in a venue built to resemble a gaint airliner; doors to manual has never looked so chic as for the Chanel spring/summer 2012 Haute Couture show, though admittedly some of the more distinguished front row guests were probably accustomed to additional leg room.
Chanel Haute Couture SS/12
Models alighting from the Louis Vuitton express for autumn/winter 2012 each had their own uniformed porter to carry their (Vuitton) luggage.
Louis Vuitton AW/12
Chanel’s Paris/Dallas rodeo-inspired show in 2013 featured a break-out space styled as an all-American drive-in screening The Return, a film about Coco Chanel directed by Mr Lagerfeld himself.
Chanel Métiers d’Art 2013
Alexander McQueen was a master of showmanship and back in the late Nineties he had model Shalom Harlow spinning on a revolving disc while she was doused in paint by two-industrial car spraying contraptions.
Alexander McQueen SS/99
We’re yet to be convinced that Anya Hindmarch and her bicycle was actually powering this 2012 animatronic show.
Anya Hindmarch AW/12
All the fun of the (fashion) fair
A minimalist and supremely stylish take on the garish funfair merry-go-round provided the perfect backdrop for Marc Jacob’s SS/12 collection for Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton SS/12
Louis Vuitton’s tigers were taxidermy as opposed to the real thing but Marc Jacobs still made for a great ring-master in 2010.
Louis Vuitton SS/10
The Anya carousel was sectioned off into cardboard cutout rooms displaying the SS/13 Pomp and Pleasure collection alongside some naughty Georgian nobs frolicking in the bath tub.
Anya Hindmarch SS/13
Back to Nature
A Midsummer Night’s Dream met the summer of love at Dries van Noten for spring/summer 2015 with a tableau of nymphettes reclining on mossy carpet of a catwalk (which was actually a handwoven tapestry).
Dries van Noten SS/15
Raf Simons at Dior presented a garden of delights with a curtain of myriad-hued fronds suspended from above in 2013.
Kim Kardashian didn’t get to secure Versailles for her wedding, however, Karl managed it for his Resort 2013 collection.
Chanel Resort 2013
At Burberry’s Beijing spectacle, Christopher Bailey proved that making it rain wasn’t the only trick in his repetoire.
Burberry, Beijing 2011
Stylish ups and downs
At the end of Chanel’s SS/06 haute couture show, a staircase rose out of the runway with couture-clad models on every step.
Chanel Haute Couture SS/06
Models, including a smoking Kate Moss, (remember that?) emerged from an ornate old school elevator attended by peak-capped bellboys during Louis Vuitton’s autumn/winter 2011 show.
Louis Vuitton AW/11
Going down: model pairs arrived in style at Vuitton’s SS/13 show via four specially appointed escalators.
Louis Vuitton SS/13
Anya Hindmarch collaborated with world champion domino expert Robin Weijers, and eight domino builders spent five days setting up some 66,000 dominoes all of which came tumbling down like clockwork on showday.
Anya Hindmarch AW/14