Chanel Kickstarts New York Fashion Week

Black, white. Hard, soft. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel is a study in contrasts, and the grand fete to celebrate the relaunch of the Soho boutique was no different, gathering some of the most glamorous players in fashion, but injecting a good dose of gritty street fun in a fitting ode to the Big Apple.

And by grand fete, we do mean grand. The occasion warranted city permits to block off part of Soho (leave it to the Kaiser to stop traffic) with large-scale LED screens, which also served as giant graffiti walls inside. Once past the blinding photo pit, guests were invited to “bomb” (we believe that’s the expression) their tag with Chanel digital “spray paint” cans.

Inside, guests were packed like camellias in a vase, kept perky and hydrated with an endless flow of bubbly served by suspiciously cute waiters with French accents (might they, too, have been imported?). As for the revelers, it might actually be easier to list who didn’t attend, namely Daphne Guinness. That exception aside, everyone was present and accounted for, apparently keeping with the high/low theme. Sarah Jessica Parker and the Cobrasnake entered at the exact same time, as if on cue (he, however, was not wearing Chanel, unless they’ve started making Hawaiian shirts for resort). Other notables included the entire cast of Gossip Girl—omg!—with Leighton Meester, Blake Lively and Chase Crawford huddled in a corner. The movie star variety included Rinko Kikuchi, Diane Kruger—looking like the most exquisite topiary—and Rachel Bilson.

And then, the models. Oh, models. For the sake of space, we’ll simply include a few first names: Jessica, Shalom, Angela, Freja, Lily, Chanel (duh). Toward the end, Karl entered triumphantly, flanked by Brad Koenig and Baptiste Giabiconi—and it occurred to us that not even Roman emperors had it this good.

On the way out, we bumped into Erin Wasson who was looking rather glamorous in a peek-a-boo white gown with train. She giggled mischievously when we complimented her, saying, “It was ten dollars at Beacon’s Closet!” We think Karl, with his penchant for fast fashion, would approve.

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