Well, Karl has done it once again. As Mr. Lagerfeld proved on Tuesday morning at his Chanel Spring/Summer 2018 show, the true zenith and indeed one of the last shows of Paris Fashion Week and indeed Fashion Month, the industry is in every way justified in associating the designer and his fashion house with themes of grandeur and originality, especially as more and more shows begin to blur into one another.

This collection, which featured unbearably light, breezy garments that glistened in the natural light of the glass-ceilinged venue, appropriately saw Paris’s Grand Palais reworked into a series of greenery-adorned grand cliffs and an even grander, hugely imposing waterfall. “Waterfalls are the healthiest thing in the world,” the designer noted after the show, adding that the breeze from the flurry of water exuding from the grandiose falls was “pleasant.” Notably, the designer has turned away from the superficial constructs for the sets and themes of previous years—highlights include his A/W14 Chanel Supermarket, his A/W15 Chanel Casino, and most recently, his A/W17 Chanel Space Station, complete with life-size rocket—to the calmer, seemingly untouched, Verdon George-inspired set of Tuesday’s show.

Although Lagerfeld himself refused to “make philosophical notes” on the show or his collection, it was impossible not to see the light-filled, nature scene, completed by the soundtrack of the waterfall’s calming crash and Björk’s serenading vocals, as a shimmering sign of hope during what many see as troubling times around the world. Indeed, it is easy to see why Chanel’s designer and many fashion houses focused their attention on nature for the Spring/Summer season, especially as an escapist fantasy of renewal in a tumultuous political climate. Lagerfeld, now 84, who continues to draw inspiration from the “all-glamorous” Seventies, which followed the “boring” and “horrible” 1960s, a time of political upheaval and fashionable activism. It is therefore easy to see how the current political climate may be giving the designer deja-vu to the era he so detested and inspiring a re-birth of 1970s escapism in his Spring/Summer 2018 Chanel theme.

This escapist attitude was seen not just in Tuesday’s set but also within the collection itself. The saying goes, “don’t go chasing waterfalls,” but maybe what they really mean is, “don’t go chasing waterfalls without wearing some seriously fashionable Chanel gear.” Although many of the collection’s luxurious garments were not exactly made for cliff-climbing, or even nature walks, every runway look was topped off with rain-ready boots, hats, and even some plastic ponchos. Chanel’s signature tweed appeared in various interpretations, especially in lightweight coats and futuristic separates, like those worn by Spring 2018 runway queen, 16-year old model Kaia Gerber, who opened the show. Chanel favorites Anna Ewers, Vittoria Ceretti, Arizona Muse, and Louise Parker all graced the rainforest runway in tweed and plastic looks that kept them dry from even the slightest splash of the huge waterfall, but Victoria’s Secret Angel Stella Maxwell was not so lucky, as she chased after her plastic hat after a gust of wind blew it right off of her head. The show’s beauty looks, created by Sam Knight and Tompecheux, featured sleak ponytails wrapped in Perspex and 80’s-inspired blue eyeshadow and red lips that contrasted with the pastels and flirty tones of the collection. Finally, Hudson Kroenig, by far the youngest of the fashionable line-up, donned a custom tweed jumpsuit and miniature version of the house’s Gabrielle bag as he continued his tenure as Chanel’s petit prince, walking out alongside Lagerfeld during the collection’s finale. 

In what was truly the cherry on top of an exciting and nature-filled Paris Fashion Week, Mr. Lagerfeld, his team at Chanel, and the well-cast line-up of tried and true models brought the splendors of the French countryside into the heart of Paris, allowing us to glimpse into the calming tones that are sure to run the streets come spring. And let’s just say, we can’t wait for these April showers or their May flowers!