Chanel: Paris to LA with modern movie-star mode
Designer Virginie Viard telegraphed her intentions in a brilliant black and white teaser video shot by Dutch photographic duo Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin, released the evening before the show. In a remarkable display of 3D models and drones, the duo replaced the famed Hollywood sign with Chanel, and relocated the Scaré Coeur and Eiffel Tower to Los Angeles. Then edited in iconic clips from classic Nouvelle Vague movies – from Breathless to The Swimming Pool, with appearances by Romy Schneider, Anna Karina et Jeanne Moreau– binding the brand with great wit to the Dream Factory of cinema.
The video was named Lights, Camera, Action! and the cinematic moment continued into the show in the Grand Palais, as guests arrived to find a giant version of the Chanel sign lit by mini bulbs and soaring 20 meters up towards the giant glass roof.
Even in the midst of the pandemic, Chanel attracted some proper movie stars and rock legends from Isabelle Adjani, Marion Cotillard, Lily-Rose Depp, Anna Mouglalis and Charlotte Cardin; to Vanessa Paradis and Sébastien Tellier.
There was a jaunty air this season, especially with the house’s signature suit. Bubblegum pink wool bouclé suits, but worn with culottes; classic Chanel suits, though trimmed – on the exterior – with gold chains, and their short skirts slit up the side; best of all - a pink mannish version of the jacket paired with a double-breasted waistcoat. Like so many looks, worn with shorts halfway up the thigh.
From movie star to rocker – with a micro blouson in black leather, finished with silver mega logo double 'CC's on the sleeves; or an Ibiza-perfect white blouson over mini-bra with a skirt bearing the legend, 'Chanel Girls.' What also worked very well were the bias-cut, off-the-shoulder evening dresses or some densely woven silk dresses in a carnation pattern, adding a dash of impertinent class.
The cast appearing with gauzy hairnet; smoky eyes; endless pearl earrings; pearl belts and chains; micro metallic leather clutches.
“Seeing as it will be the last show in the Grand Palais for quite some time, I wanted to pay homage to all the great, spectacular shows Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld staged here over the past 20 years. Plus, Gabrielle Chanel and Karl have dressed so many movie stars over the years, but in their daily lives and not just for the screen,” explained Virginie Viard, her hands gesturing up to the massive Chanel sign.
The Grand Palais is due to suit down while the city carries out extensive rebuilding of its foundations, which have gradually weakened due to its location on the banks of the Seine.
Within 18 months, since Lagerfeld’s passing, Viard has injected in a definite dash of youth into Chanel. Her new Chanel lady is definitely much more a Good Time Gal than Grande Dame, and all the better for that.
Asked about that, Viard responded: “It’s not that I set out to be younger, or dress a 20-year-old rather than a 50-year-old; not at all. More that I want Chanel to be very wearable. With Karl you got a very clear statement, where the message was very clear. While when I look at an ensemble, I ask myself, will she want to wear the look?” smiled Viard.
It’s been a very busy week for the house. Last Wednesday it opened a major retrospective on the creative skills of its founder, 'Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto' in the Galliera Museum in Paris. While in London, the house reportedly agreed to pay around £310 million for the property, the building of its flagship on Bond Street, the most expensive shopping thoroughfare in the UK capital.
Next top: Viard will take Chanel’s Métiers d’Art collection to Chenonceau, a favorite home of one of Coco’s personal icons - Catherine de Medici, the only woman ever to rule France. Which is not how one would describe the contemporary Chanel lady -- very much awake and in charge.
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