The Chanel pre-fall 2020 collection is out, and it’s uniqueness and beauty steams from what Virginie Viard titled her Metiers d’Art show “Paris-31 rue Cambon.”
It’s all a product of the re-creation and fashion-wise interpretation of the fabled street where Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel first set up shop as a milliner in 1910 (“Chanel Modes” at Number 21), and it’s also where her fashion empire expanded.
For the pre-fall collection show, Viard conjured “Coco” Chanel’s apartment with a study in black, beige, crystal, and old gold that is still preserved as of the days of Chanel, the famous mirrored staircase from which her mannequins once used to glide, and where Chanel herself sat to spy on the reactions of her clients seated in the salons below. Viard not doing the show at Chanel’s place is due to the innovation that the place is about to go through in the hands of Jacques Grange but she has found enough inspiration from the place to make use of.
For the show, there are the ears of wheat from the gilded sheaves that Chanel kept for good luck which were embroidered onto filmy black tulle cardigans that were stylishly shrugged over lean black crepe jogging pants, also on a short evening dress lavished with ropes of pearls. There are motifs from the ancient lacquered Coromandel screens that were used as luxe frostings on pocket flaps and cuffs, all elements from Chanel’s apartment which inspired the collection in the show.
The collections also showcase the beautiful work of the fournisseurs or otherwise known as the luxury suppliers of the fashion industry which include the embroidered, feather and artificial flower makers, milliners, custom shoemakers, acquired by Chanel to keep their skills alive and also to keep them operational. Viard’s knowledge of these ateliers for years in which the Chanel studio was under her care can testify to what goodness and beauty come out of these ateliers. The eye tricks that were created as the pepper and salt tweed suits with hems that look as though the fabric itself has been fringed but turn out to be feather fronds instead, a bolero of broad feathers overprinted with a shadowy pattern of Chanel’s iconic camellias, or a feather blazer worked into a subtle trompe l’oeil plaid, also present in garlands of jewelled belts and necklaces that proved to be embroidered onto the top of a hip-slung skirt. Viard has embodied these Lagerfeld works in a subtle way to represent Chanel’s spirit and this has resulted into a collection that focuses on uncomplicated, client-friendly clothes that have a more timeless appeal.
Once at the show, models were seen on the runway displaying the uniqueness of Chanel’s spirit as models wore classic boxy black coats in chunky wool as coat dresses and tied with chiffon sashes lavishly embroidered in gold and jewels. The monochromatic opening and finale cemented the inner make up cream that had tones of hot pinks, burgundies, and corals, worked in everything from cardigan knits to ombré chiffon prints. There were also house stalwarts like the shadowy black chiffon and lace evening dresses, or the slinky ivory charmeuse evening shirt-dresses that were all cut to the ankle. With so much to see and marvel at, the artistically beautiful and intricately made collection was basically one that was made for women who have very little worry about clothing.