Chanel Fall 2011 Show Review

chanel Fall 2011 runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Chanel Fall 2011 collection

SHOW: Chanel (See the full runway collection.)

HAIR: Sam McKnight

MAKEUP: Peter Philips

ACCESSORIES: Flat biker boots with fold-over tops, oversize chain-strap handbags, fingerless knit gauntlets

OVERALL TAKEAWAY: Krakatoa Chic—only Chanel could get away with it.

The Chanel show took place in a smoldering volcano. And why not? Karl Lagerfeld has brought Greenland, Versailles, and even the rue Cambon into the Grand Palais before—why not Vesuvius? After all, a Chanel show is all about making fantasies come true.

It's also about a big-bucks, no-holds-barred display of fashion muscle. Chanel is pretty much the biggest show in Paris—its power is certainly legendary, and Lagerfeld revels in it. For Fall 2011, he indulged himself, sending out dozens of exits, hundred of clothes, and positively millions of ideas.

There's always an overload of the senses at a Chanel show. This time the set at least anchored the collection color-wise. Black was the keynote, just like that volcanic ash, flecked with white and gray (and even a touch of lava-red bouclé on Stella Tennant). It also suggested, perhaps, the idea of distressing—Lagerfeld shredded his tweeds, slashed his denims, and generally left every seam raw and exquisitely unraveling.

It was a masterful performance from a master of fashion. Kaiser Karl even managed to make overalls seem like the last word in evening chic. Then again, they were in finest silk-chiffon embroidered by Lesage. And the label does say Chanel.