“Rising out of a misty mirrored floor in the Grand Palais, a landscape of concentric white islands multiplied in feminine curves was framed in inky black. As the swell of composer Michel Legrand’s orchestral stylings graduated into the soothing vocal and electronic beats of Planningtorock for CHANEL, the usual rush of a runway show was forgotten as bevies of models wandered by, appearing in mismatched trios and pairs or striding in defiant solace. Each wore soft black boots folding up the knee to reveal a chestnut-coloured cuff – inspired by the kind Karl Lagerfeld once wore. Gustave Doré drew them and Proust wrote about them – riding boots as common ground, the fil rouge for a collection teeming with liberated gestures of modern romance. 
Impossible to escape, nods to equestrian life were woven throughout the soft silhouettes, from the sweeping cut of tweed redingotes to the ample jodhpurs that underpinned many a delicate blouse or knit strewn with jewelled crosses and pearls. Look closely, you will even pick up an interpretation of the casaque worn by the jockey of ‘Romantica’, Gabrielle Chanel’s racehorse. Above all though, it was the shiny domes of silver snap studs and cabochon buttons that trimmed trousers, skirt suits and dashing opera coats that defined the season’s undone graphic ease. Dresses were rare gems amongst the cornucopia of tailoring, revealed in sumptuous velvets, lustrous taffeta and crafty tweed. In their sobriety they left room for whimsy elsewhere, like the tone-on-tone seed pearl frogging on a snowy scalloped jacket over apron mini-shorts followed by its sisters accented by feathered puff sleeves or encrusted epaulettes. As CHANEL sound designer Michel Gaubert cued Philippe Sarde’s Les Choses de la Vie for a stirring finale, the consummate vision of Virginie Viard’s collection was of a nonchalant and New Wave femininity – dressed up but undone, simultaneously adorned and as effortless as can be.”



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