Chanel is to tweed what couture is to the catwalk.
But during a time in which Paris’s most prestigious fashion week has had to adapt to a digital platform, it is apt that Chanel’s slot on the online schedule should serve as a love letter to its signature fabric.
In a short film, broadcast on the fashion house’s website this morning, designer Virginie Viard offered up a lavishly opulent take on tweed, with boucle jackets shimmering with sequins and classic A-line skirts layered over matching kick flare trousers.
“I was thinking about a punk princess, coming out of ‘Le Palace’ at dawn,” mused Viard in a release issued after the virtual unveiling, in reference to the legendary Parisian nightclub. “With a taffeta dress, big hair, feathers and lots of jewellery.”
In stark contrast to the last couture collection shown in Paris in January which was inspired by the austerity of the abbey at Aubazine - the convent where Gabrielle Chanel grew up as a child - it was Viard’s late, great predecessor and not the house’s founder which served as the greatest source of influence to her latest work.
“The collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel. Karl would go to ‘Le Palace’, he would accompany these very sophisticated and dressed up women, who were very eccentric too.”
Bardot mini dresses and sliced bolero jackets also starred among Chanel’s tweed reinterpretations, while one boucle bustier cocktail creation came complete with a feather trimmed fringed skirt. The rich embellishment was the work of the house’s renowned embroidery partners, including the Métiers d’art Lesage and Montex, along with Lemarié and Goossens, which masterminded intricate details such as the diamond-like braiding which adorns a black trouser suit.
Plush velvet gowns with jewel encrusted cuffs, punkish lace cocktail dresses and taffeta confections with structured statement sleeves completed the line-up of 30 looks.
This morning’s showcase was also prefixed by a series of teaser videos, hosted on the brand’s social media channels, which revealed a behind-the-scenes snapshot of how the Paris ateliers at 31 rue Cambon have coped during lockdown.