The backdrop to every metamorphosis, this season the Grand Palais transforms into a grand circular library complete with walkways. Arranged like a peaceful living room with its banquettes, wing chairs and coffee tables, its rugs and ornaments, it radiates serenity and is an invitation to experience the calm procured by reading.
An eternal book lover, Virginie Viard brings it to life with her vision of the CHANEL woman. Slender, she wears slippers and pumps with a satin bow or black patent leather loafers that reinvent the two-tone geometry of the House. Little glasses give her the look of a young woman eager for culture, poetry, novels.
“I dreamt about a woman with nonchalant elegance and a fluid and free silhouette; everything I like about the CHANEL allure,” confided Virginie Viard, Artistic Director of CHANEL Fashion collections. Contoured with a sophisticated 1930s line, her modernity shows in her coolness, hands thrust deep into pockets. A chic nonchalance enveloped in fluid volumes, loose and lithe, is highlighted with a belt or a bow, with curves and clean graphic panels. Black, white, navy blue, honey, plum and burgundy are traversed with flashes of pink, fuchsia, blue, green and orange, with streaks of silver and gold.
The savoir-faire of the Haute Couture ateliers is honoured throughout: purity sets off the bias and border cuts along the straight grain of duchess satins and double-sided fabrics. The tweeds and the wool crêpe find an exacting fluidity. The drop of velvets responds to the delicacy of georgette pleats, layers of chiffon and organza. The textured lace, multicoloured embroideries and feathers worked one by one reinvent flowers, whorls and palettes in a thousand shades.
As soft as robes, the tweed coats, straight or wraparound, skim the floor, playing with masculine influences. Over a strapless dress or a tweed skirt, the jacket becomes a bolero or bomber jacket with rounded shoulders and sleeves. Worn with wide-cut fluid trousers, drop-fronted or high-waisted, it comes cropped, with pointed shoulders, an officer collar or a small quilted collar. Virginie Viard also transforms it into a little button-up vest with straps. Each time the buttons take on the colours of vellum and printer’s papers, while linings are as white as flyleaves. Some are adorned with layered collars resembling the spine of a book left partially open. Tweed motifs and pleats are aligned like so many volumes on shelves. The CHANEL jacket and allure are like an open book…
The very feminine line alternates between a little belted dress in pleated two-tone tweed with a small collar and layered feuilleté cuffs, a pair of satin trousers worn with a dropped shoulder sweater, and another pair in wool sported with an organza blouse with a tie or a short-sleeved sweater in embroidered wool. A sense of comfort emanates from the silhouettes, inciting us to take time to read in this beautiful library.
Tweed, velvet and wool crêpe swathe sinuous dresses and skirts, while lace and chiffon give them volume and lightness.
Always belted, the long dresses outline an almost languorous attitude. In satin, backless or held with a bow, in velvet and embellished with a bow on the shoulder or with embroidered layered fabrics – emulating pages out of a book, drawn out with a godet or split with pockets.
Opposites attract: the long sleeves of a wool dress with a soft and flared bust, fastened with a layered feuilleté collar respond to the bare shoulders of a georgette sheath dress tiered with flat and sunray pleats. On others a row of feathers escape from the hem, pleated flounces encircle the body, a bow is draped on the bust, flowers adorn a bustier or highlight a nude back. An orangey chiffon negligee, a pair of wide-cut feather-hemmed trousers with a top in draped radzimir and a dress with Karl Lagerfeld’s writing slipped into its sequined embroideries are like a breath of fresh air…
In this intimate atmosphere, the boundaries between what is worn indoors and outdoors are blurred by the dresses and sheath dresses in lace warmed by little bomber jackets embroidered with flowers made of feathers, and dresses veiled with capes or coats in silk tulle. And with a carefree charm, the bride is dressed in pyjamas and a robe in a pale pink satin pleated and embellished with escaping feathers.
Luxurious, calm and voluptuous: renewed, the trilogy makes perfect sense in this fantasy library. With a wealth of detail, the sophisticated and feminine line introduce another take on the CHANEL allure. Under the plume of Virginie Viard, they write a new fashion story.
The CHANEL Fall-Winter 2019/20 Haute Couture show was applauded by the CHANEL ambassadors Margot Robbie, Marine Vacht, Caroline de Maigret, Phoebe Tonkin, Ayami Nakajo, Ellie Bamber and Zhou Xun as well as the actresses Valerie Pachner, Marion Cotillard, Emily Beecham and Amandla Stenberg and the director Lukas Dhont.