This collection was Virginie Viard’s first solo collection for the house since Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. The backdrop for this display was a specially designed interpretation of Paris’ horizon, constructed within the nave of the Grand Palais on the Champs-Élysées. The location, famous for being the centre of exhibitions and luxury designer shopping, was well suited to be the host of Chanel, being one of the biggest designer names since its birth in the early 1900s.
Silhouettes were fluid and supple, moving as the models walked, and light enough to ripple as if being caught by a gentle summer breeze. Satin, silk, chiffon, organza and feathers decorated pieces to create a sophisticated appearance. Stripes, checks, vibrant block colours – red, orange, pink, blue – illuminated the collection and emphasised the emblematic black and white of the house. Highlights included an alluring black silk mini dress with puffed organza sleeves, a high neck and bow detailing across the waist. Bejewelled T-bar sandals were worn over black tights. Make up was complimentary and classic Chanel – radiant skin, demure eyes, and a pop of red on the lips.
Midway through the show an audience member managed to get onto the runway and, dressed in a checked skirt suit (not entirely dissimilar to other pieces in the collection), joined in with the show. Strutting down the runway, she was cordoned off by Gigi Hadid before being hastily pursued and removed by security. For a collection which was already cinematic in its delivery, this only served to embellish the performative qualities of the show further.
Continually original and yet always identifiable, the silhouette of Chanel’s SS20 collection embodied the nonchalant grace of a cinematographic heroine.
by Alicia Pountney