The loveliness of Chanel is legendary. Be it couture or sport the design vocabulary of this historical house seems innate to its very chic existence. From the boucle tweed suiting to the pearl-trimmed gowns and jackets, flowing silhouettes, ruffled layers, a wink to men’s tailoring and overly feminine gowns, the traditional Chanel Madames and flirtatiously independent Mademoiselles covet the label’s distinct je ne sais quoi. In the Fall-Winter 2020, collection designer Virginie Viard presented a crafty melange of camellia, crosses, and signature CCs in a mostly black and white palette. It was pure Chanel in every way – even the pastel respites of color did not bend or embolden that which easily could be considered cliche without innovation. Filling the perfectionist bravura of worldly-wise Karl Largerfeld is an unimaginable task and Viard understandably may require some trial and error to find her Chanel-way. This collection wonders if a designer can embrace the spirit of expression, and gorgeous anything-goes individuality prevailing fashion movement culling exclusively from a very over-worked toy box.
Viard’s refreshing youthquake features skin. Skirts slit are sky-high, low cut bandeau tops revel mid drifts adorned with braided chain belts atop hot pants. The show opened with a trio of models wearing hot pants and duster coats – a youthful play on proportion an acknowledgment of the very loose equestrian theme of the collection. Side snap track pants, in leather, resembled western chaps when worn unsnapped to the waist. Throughout the collection, the models all wore riding boot based on a ‘seven-league’ boot owned by Mr. Lagerfeld, but alas, boots alone can not bring cohesion to a collection that declares individual expression by Chanel. Viard’s take on the classics is studied and effortlessly chic, rewarding the fashion orthodox while denying the adventurous the excitement of a blossoming trend or rebellious anthem to truly make their own. Chanel.