New beginnings, a new start, a new wave. For the first season of the new decade — and CHANEL Artistic Director of Fashion Collections Virginie Viard’s latest collection for CHANEL — the zinc-clad rooftops, chimney pots and garret windows of Rue Cambon, the house’s home since 1918, are installed in the nave of the Grand Palais: quintessentially Parisian and projecting the magical allure of CHANEL against an open sky.
“The roofs of Paris remind me of the atmosphere of the ‘Nouvelle Vague’. I saw silhouettes walking on the roofs. I thought about Kristen Stewart playing Jean Seberg and all the actresses Gabrielle Chanel dressed at that time,” Virginie Viard said.
The spirit is youthful and the mood optimistic, full of hope for the future. Here indeed is a contemporary reimagining of the leading ladies of French cinema’s ‘Nouvelle Vague’: they are gamine and determinedly irreverent in tweed jackets transformed into jumpsuits, playsuits and dresses with sweet, flared skirts.
More skirts in silk faille and taffeta, all with a high waist, bounce down the walkways: echoes of the camellia flower, upturned in full bloom. They are worn with delicate ruffled and pleated silk blouses, finished with organza flower petals, raffia, feathers and bows. Like the women themselves, they are exquisitely delicate — light and light-hearted.
Codes upheld: the masculine-feminine paradox at the heart of CHANEL’s vocabulary is seen in the smart simplicity of eased tailoring in black and navy with flounced collars and cuffs, jaunty shorts in signature jersey, capri pants, nonchalantly knotted shirts and an oversized hand-knit, pretty in pink. Zipped leather bags, reminiscent of schoolgirls’ pencil cases, and flat two-tone pumps with slender ankle straps add to an elegant but never overly serious mood.
Colour is bold and prints playful: blithe stripes, those rooftops again on anthracite dresses with lipstick red matt sequin trim and rainbow-hued letters dancing across the surface of shimmering satins. They spell out a name at once timely and timeless, temporal and eternal: CHANEL.
The models wore felt hats in beige or black by Maison Michel, some accented with a red flower that lit up the silhouette. This new take on a bowler hat gives the looks a distinctly cinematographic air, conjuring up the ´Nouvelle Vague’ atmosphere that runs through the collection.
Ambassadors and friends of the House were brought together at the Grand Palais in Paris for the Spring-Summer 2020 show, presented against the backdrop of Parisian rooftop architecture. Afterwards, guests were asked to share their impressions of the new collection by Virginie Viard.