A physical audience might have been off the menu, but that didn’t stop Chanel hosting a spectacular runway show in the French Loire valley for its Métiers d’art 2020 collection.
The stupendously beautiful Château de Chenonceau provided the backdrop for Karl Lagerfeld’s successor Virginie Viard to unveil her second Métiers d’art collection since she took the helm.
Known as the “Château des Dames” because it was designed and lived in by women, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici, Viard says the castle was an “obvious choice,” noting that “Catherine de’ Medici’s emblem was a monogram composed of two intertwined Cs, just like that of Chanel.”
“We don’t know if Coco was directly inspired by her, but it is highly likely because she so admired Renaissance women. Her taste for lace ruffs and the aesthetic of certain pieces of her jewellery come from there. Deep down, this place is a part of Chanel’s history.”
The clothes themselves were a fitting tribute to the glamorous venue. Tweed capes echoed the castle’s famous tapestries, while floral embroideries on jacket lapels were inspired by Catherine de’ Medici’s gardens. Queens Gambit fans will delight at the sequin chequerboard minis with matching handbags that echoed the black and white chequered flooring of the castle’s grand gallery.
Viard worked with the 11 ateliers Chanel owns to bring her vision to life. Floral applique specialists Lemarié, who Coco Chanel first turned to for her camellia embroidery back in the sixties, bedecked a long black latticed gown, while embroiderers Lesage brought intricate detailing to a damask dress.
Chanel’s signature two-tone pumps were reworked in party-ready glittery gold and silver platforms by cordwainers Massaro, while tapered stiletto-heeled black boots with fold-over cuffs gave an edge to silvery leggings and knit skirts.
“Because I like everything to be mixed up,” explains Viard. “All the different eras, between the Renaissance and romanticism, between rock and something very girly, it is all very Chanel.”