Never did we think 80s Blitz Kid culture and the sumptuous opulence of an 18th century France would – or could – coexist, but thanks to Karl Lagerfeld and Sam McKnight, it did – and spectacularly so. Despite the pairing being so strangely synchronous, it worked, with Lagerfeld’s inspiration – a tiny Marais exhibition detailing the luxury goods of the 18th century’s aristocratic elite – and McKnight’s personal bedtime story – Dylan Jones’ David Bowie biography – coming together in a most curious yet glorious fashion.
“Karl asked me for hair going up and away from the face, I knew he had an idea of the 18th century in the air, with the set and the romance. When we did the hair and make up looks I was reading Dylan Jones’s brilliant David Bowie biography, I was immersed in the period where he hung out with the Blitz Kids, so by osmosis the hair today became inspired by those early eighties style icons. So it became a mix of 18th century romance and Bowie’s Blitz Kids,” McKnight mused. The former – the old romantic, the latter – the New Romantic – collided with unexpected beauty fantasy in teased out, towering quiffs which sat somewhere between 80s swing and 18th century rigidity.
Against the backdrop of Chanel’s version of European paradise – a baked terracotta facade, sweeping cypress trees, serene pool and marble balustrades – the hair rose to haute heights.
Quiffs rich in irony, they sat high with the 80s-esque excess of Bowie and haute with the refinement of a bygone France. Lofty and capacious, hair was teased into sizeable poufs – high at the root, wide at the sides – they had the rockabilly of the 80s with the sensibility of old world France. It was almost as if the girls had been caught in a wind tunnel – of the chicest kind. Using ample whiffs of Easy Updo and Modern Hairspray, hair was coaxed into coifs that would make Madame de Pompadour – and Bowie – proud.
It was McKnight whimsy at its very best. And to top it all off, a cluster of feathered, bejewelled pansies tucked behind model ears.
Girls who lived large with a kind of bon viveur; it seems Karl’s Chanel cast certainly had a taste for excess. It is Couture week after all.