“I was thinking about a punk princess coming out of ‘Le Palace’ at dawn,” reveals Virginie Viard. “With a taffeta dress, big hair, feathers and lots of jewellery. This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel. Karl would go to ‘Le Palace’, he would accompany these very sophisticated and very dressed up women, who were very eccentric too.”
While the Spring-Summer 2020 Haute Couture collection was clearly influenced by the simplicity and rigour of the abbey at Aubazine, where Gabrielle Chanel had been placed as a child, the thirty looks of the Fall-Winter 2020/21 Haute Couture collection are marked by a desire for shimmering opulence and jewelry. Some are even accompanied with jewels from the CHANEL High Jewelry collections.
“I like working like this, going in the opposite direction of what I did last time. I wanted complexity, sophistication.”
All of CHANEL’s embroidery partners, including the Métiers d’art Lesage and Montex, as well as Lemarié and Goossens have contributed to the precious tweeds embellished with sequins, strass, stones and beads. A diamond-like braiding adorns the ink black trouser suits. Short dresses with cinched waists and corolla skirts rustle alongside long dresses with a very Grand Siècle allure and the noble authority of heroines escaping from 19th century tableaux.
“It’s true that I thought about paintings, but it was more German paintings,” says Virginie Viard.
“I really had Karl’s world in mind…”
Black and anthracite grey tonalities are illuminated with flashes of pink. Painted laces enrich bolero jackets along with tweeds made of silver streaked ribbon; a jacket with an entirely smocked waist is worn over tapered boot-trousers in black suede, the ultimate sign of an ultra-rock romanticism. “For me, Haute Couture is romantic by its very essence. There is so much love in each one of these silhouettes.”