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Chanel goes hi-tech, while Kenzo goes retro, at Paris Fashion Week

Technology is changing fashion quicker than you can say “selfie”, so it came as no surprise when Karl Lagerfeld made the digital world the theme behind Chanel’s spring/summer 2017 show. The Beaux-Arts interiors of Paris’ Grand Palais were transformed into a mammoth data centre, complete with rows of computer hardware and colourful wires.

The show opened with two models dressed in the house’s classic tweed suits, faces covered by white helmets that could easily be mistaken for virtual-reality headsets (but they weren’t). The digital theme continued as models took to the runway in colourful circuit board and digital prints, clutching a 3D robot bag or a black board spelling out Chanel in blinking LED lights.

There were a few technical difficulties as the show progressed – the styling, which included chunky medallions, side ponytails and baseball caps worn askew, seemed a bit 1980s. The lingerie-inspired silk and lace pieces, although beautiful, also seemed out of sync.

Kenzo designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lim referenced the 1980s, in particular the disco era, for their fun and glamorous collection. According to the show notes, the archives of renowned artist and illustrator Antonio Lopez served as the starting point for the collection. His iconic images appeared in grid-like collages covering drawstring tops, T-shirts and pencil skirts. Other daywear included airy and voluminous trench coats and parkas made from technical taffeta in bold colours, tailored denim with snap fastenings and broken camouflage prints.

For the evening they piled on the glitz. Lame blouses with puffy shoulders were matched with metallic skirts, while cocktail dresses came covered in sequins in various shapes, sizes and colours. The accessories were also killer and included coiled heels, and show-stopping earrings with glittering tassels or piles of crystal balls.