Photo by Olivier Saillant for Chanel

As if fashion wasn’t already synonymous with environmental excess. Karl Lagerfeld commisioned a life-size aircraft to house Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2012 couture show inside the Grand Palais in Paris on Tuesday. Subtlety has never been the designer’s strongest suit—this is the man who flew a 265-ton glacier to the City of Lights on a whim, after all—but the display of such extravagance in a depressed economy feels gauche even by the most liberal standards. Set designers didn’t just spend five days constructing the plane (or at least, the innards of one) from anodized aluminum. They also outfitted it with an extra-wide 164-foot aisle, 180-degree swivel seats for 250 high-profile guests, double-C monogrammed carpet, a holographic cockpit, and a slatted roof that revealed a vista of clouds. Mon dieu!

Spring/Summer 2012, Chanel Couture, eco-fashion, sustainable fashion, green fashion, ethical fashion, sustainable style, Paris Couture Week, Karl Lagerfeld

Photo by WireImage


“I love the plane,” said the permanently clad-in-black Lagerfeld, who famously flew by private jet in the documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. “There’s nothing I find more relaxing. Your neighbors are stuck to their screens, there are no phones—it’s blissfully peaceful.”

To complement the mile-high theme, models trotted out in myriad shades of blues, from pale washes of eggshell to the glossiest of indigos.

To complement the mile-high theme, models trotted out in myriad shades of blue, from pale washes of azure to the glossiest of indigos. But although the designs riffed off flight-attendant uniforms, Lagerfeld didn’t go full-on Pan Am. “I didn’t want to make it too literal,” he said backstage. “If you look at what air hostesses really wore back in the ’60s, it wasn’t that great.”

One small consolation: Because seating was so limited, the show had to be staged twice to accommodate first-class “passengers” like Cameron Diaz, Elizabeth Olsen, Daphne Guinness, and Diane Kruger, in addition to the high-powered editors who weren’t bumped off Air Chanel.

No word on the fate of the set when it’s unceremoniously thrown away, as it most undoubtedly will be. This is one flight that will be permanently docked at the scrap heap.

+ Chanel

[Via The Cut]