"I'm against reality," Karl Lagerfeld said, as he unveiled his Bombay-inspired pre-autumn/winter 2012-13 collection in the heart of fantasy, Paris, last week. "This is the Paris version of the idea of India," he continued, in all his Burton-esque resplendent glory.
Despite never having visited Bombay or even India himself, Lagerfeld's latest collection for Chanel is suffused with Bollywood and Indian charm. Stella Tennant, Arizona Muse and a whole host of it-models sashayed down the catwalks of Chanel's Grand Palais in sari-draped dresses, khol-rimmed eyes and lashings of diamonds - a total testimony to the power of fantasy.
And fantasy is not only in vogue in Chanel-land right now. It's having itself a bit of a moment. From January's UK Vogue cover model, Florence Welch, to Lady Gaga telling us in her video for 'Marry the Night' that she prefers to "remember things in an artistic way" than necessarily remembering the truth, we perhaps will not scoff, as we once would, at the absurdity of Lagerfeld basing an entire collection on a place that he has never visited. So what if the real world sucks and India doesn't quite live up to Chanel's lavish dream? Dreaming has always been much more fun anyway.
And it really comes into its own at Christmas. The shop windows are lined with sparkles, glitter and velvet, and if there's a recession on, someone better tell Harvey Nichols. Their flagship store window in London is wonderfully extravagant, featuring a white horse mid-jump amidst a festive frosty scene.
Meanwhile, at the box office, it is fantasy that is enchanting the cinema-goers among us. Hugo, the Scorsese adventure film, has been well-reviewed, and Michelle Williams attains an understated poignancy in her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe when she asks Colin Clark "shall I be her?" in front of a crowd at Windsor castle. The discrepancy between being and playing, it would seem, has never been more evident.
And this Christmas, it has never been more necessary. With people feeling the "pinch" more than ever, and countless families tightening the purse strings ahead of a frugal yuletide, it is wonderful to turn on the television and be greeted by the theatre of the Strictly Come Dancing costumes. It is wonderful to see Lagerfeld's imaginative Indian collection on display in our glossy magazines, and it is inspiring to lose ourselves, albeit momentarily, in the magic of London's festive window displays.
For as Lagerfeld himself said last week "fantasy is often better than reality. It is much more inspiring not to go to places than to go." This Christmas, I defy you not to agree with that.