An intimate show of contrasts for Chanel

·2-min read
Models parade at the end of Chanel women's Spring/Summer 2020/2021 collection fashion show.

From the vast scale of the Grand Palais to a small Paris nightclub: forced into the virtual space, Chanel's latest women's collection moved to a more intimate and relaxed setting.

Chanel designer Virginie Viard, who took over from Karl Lagerfeld two years ago, has taken the label in the opposite direction to the wildly extravagant ski resort sets and fantasy supermarkets constructed by her storied predecessor.

She has made her mark with a more minimalist approach and her latest show, a winter collection delivered by video due to the pandemic, took the models to Castel, a private St Germain nightclub on the Parisian left bank.

In shining, transparent get-ups, they discard their coats and top up their make-up as they head into the club. The mood is very much "a girls' night out... very sensual," Viard said in the shownotes.

"I love contrasts," she said. "So for voluminous winter clothes, I wanted a small space. I thought about the shows that Karl told me about, back in the day, where the models dressed themselves and did their own make-up."

The buoyant atmosphere is another contrast, given the morose mood of the real world in its pandemic winter and the designs have nods to Lagerfeld muse Stella Tennant, the model and designer who killed herself in December.

But the clothes are all about the glamour of arriving from the cold outdoors into a party: a long tweed coat over bare legs in huge fake-fur, black-buckle boots, or a black tweed pantsuit with blue checks adorned with thin pearl straps and an overlay of long necklaces.

Elsewhere, the vibe combines ski slopes and apres ski: two-tone boots in a puffer material are unzipped to reveal a silver-heeled ankle boot, or quilted ski suits paired with strappy sandals.

"The collection is a mix of two influences: the atmosphere of winter sports, that I love, and a certain idea of Parisian chic from the 1970s up to today," said Viard.