Couture FW 2020
Photos by Mikael Jansson
The Melodramatic Punk Princess Of Chanel
From the ateliers to conception – Chanel F/W 20’ Couture
After months of lockdown in Paris, just like any of us living through this pandemic, we’ve all had to adapt to a new normal. The house of Chanel and its couture premieres weren’t spared from that, therefore they had to find alternatives to showcase their most important presentation of the year: the couture collection. So for this season, creative director Virginie Viard went the opposite direction of the last couture show. Not only was it not inspired by the founder of the house, but instead of a show, it was captured through a film and photographs by Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson. In addition, a three-part video series by Loïc Prigent was also attached to the release, where the viewer gets an exclusive behind-the-scenes of the production. While witnessing the work that goes on behind the fabric manipulations, the canvas interpretations of Viard’s ideas, Loïc talks to the head seamstresses about the process of it all until the result. All in the aim to celebrate the savoir-faire of the ateliers, especially the braid experts. At Chanel, it seems the premieres have motivational quotes to keep going as we learned that a millimeter can make a big difference, but we’re reassured that: “That’s what couture is all about…” Patience is also key because it’s all in the details, like the butterflies seen on the braids. So even before seeing the end product, the viewer builds a greater appreciation for what is being done. The inconvenience of not having a lavish production at the Grand Palais also meant that Chanel could no longer give their audience the usual transportive experience, so the clothes had to speak for themselves. Therefore, the story behind every single garment was just as important, and Viard did not disappoint.
From their usual 60 plus pieces reduced to just 30 outfits, this couture collection is inspired by Viard’s predecessor’s world: 19th-century German paintings, gold as an interpretation of night time in Vegas, and unexpectedly the one place Karl Lagerfeld used to go during his pass time with Princess Diane de Beauvau-Craon, “Le Palace”, a theatre in Monmarte in Paris. Characterized by a punk princess as Viard describes her but oriented towards the romanticism associated with couture, this season is all about the redefinition of the classics while giving it an edgy attitude. This Chanel woman knows sophistication but has a sense of theatrics! Viard calls it the ultra rock romanticism. Throughout the entire collection, tweed is very much present, but with embroidery of very subtle sequins, beads, jeweled buttons, and precious braids. The first look is risqué yet traditional; a double-breasted Chanel jacket paired with a 3-layer skirt on one side and open on the other. The following look is one of our favorites, as the black-dyed velvet pane gown is elegant but laid-back as it’s linked with a black floral jeweled belt and cuffs made of tweed and organza with colorful embroidered pearls and stones. There weren’t many colors in this collection but the midnight blue was striking and the fuchsia and gold set paired with high boots is the coolness we like to see at Chanel.
As much as the make-up was minimal with just an accent on the eyes with dark eyeliner, one hairstyle gave a punk reference and that’s where again we see the added touch of blue which is unexpected but fun. Although these mohawk bangs with blue highlights are for a particular taste, especially when it’s paired with a blue taffeta round neck dress with oversized sleeves… it’s great for editorial! Viard styled all the looks with Chanel Haute Joaillerie collection and brought a modern twist to what we know to be a staple for the brand. This collection was the reinvention of the tweed, but our favorite looks were those with the cinched waist, particularly the high collar blue and gold jacket, with the dropped raglan sleeves. The details of tassels at the waist and cuffs were that special element we didn’t know could make a big difference, like the cherry on top.
By Anne-Isabelle Saint-Pierre