The other week, we did our review of Paris Couture Week, and while it was a blast running through the incorporation of hieroglyphics by Zuhair Murad, I made sure to save the “Best in Show” award for last. It’s finally time to reveal the winner!
And the award goes to…
We’ve spoken of the innovative visionary before, and you can be certain that we will speak of her again in the future because although she is no longer with us, her fashion house has proven to withstand the test of time.
Last year, designer Virginie Viard made her debut with an homage to the fashion house’s creator by having the show set in a library, inspired by the one in Chanel’s apartment on the famous Rue Chambon.
A fashion show combines multiple art forms to create an electrifying experience. While Viard’s setting was soft and intellectual, she had to choose music that would fit this vibe, meaning she would have to choose something slower and sultrier than what is traditionally used. With Portishead’s “Glory Box” guiding the model’s slow-paced steps, Viard solidified herself into the high fashion zeitgeist. I suggest you play the song in the background as you read the rest of this article to fully immerse yourself in the brilliance that continues to be House of Chanel, and the delightful old/new direction it is taking.
This year’s show saw another homage to Chanel’s roots, with Viard’s runway being set amongst linens hanging on clothing lines, reminiscent of the small town in central France where Coco grew up.
While last year, Viard incorporated Chanel’s famous tweed suits into long coats (a style that really took front and center in this winter’s street style scene), this year’s show went with a more school-girl length, an ode to Coco’s days as an orphan at the convent.
Many of this year’s looks incorporated ankle-gazing tulle, adding an extra layer of femininity to the already girlish French country meadow patterns. Under this style, my standout pick was:
Patent-leather shoes with white ankle socks was a style I donned on the daily during my days as a Catholic school girl, and it is a style that has influenced my structural polish that I commonly evoke to this day. It comes as no surprise that the Catholic school roots played a huge role in Coco’s fashion sense, as well. Famous for her black and white uniforms, she believed there was nothing chicer that an outfit donning the composition of all colors and the absence of color.
Viard brought this influence to the forefront of our minds through her use of Peter Pan collars, which she updated and glamorized with touches of sparkle, seamlessly blending the strict world of the schoolgirl with the free world of high fashion.
This full-length black dress with a cathedral checked Peter Pan collar lends itself towards a more reverent look, but Viard's choice of adding the slit brings her vision of blending reserved and sexy to life.
Remaining true to Coco, Viard incorporated a great deal of black and white, but she modernized it with her own touch of gray. In this section, my Standout look would be:
I connect with this look so much that I feel like Viard read my soul on this one. This has me written all over it.
In 2019, Viard brought back some of the drop waist from the Roaring 20’s, an effortlessly flattering style that Coco brought into high fashion, but Viard brought her own twist by incorporating billowy sleeves and mini-skirted tweed suits in bold, powerful colors.
Her painless way of blending four different decades and creating a new one is not only mesmerizing, but it is also inspiring. It may sound easy to pick your favorite styles from each decade, but to bring them together in a way that is seamless and natural is no simple task.
This is the art of fashion. This is art in motion. Similar to the way one looks at colors for their walls: Should I do my bedroom navy and pink? A red living room accent wall or all gray walls? Bold or subtle?
In fashion, designers and stylists do this same thing with clothes. Bell bottoms and monochromatic? Kitten heels and mini-skirts? Billow skirts and tweed? It’s one thing to watch an artist run with their inspiration, but it’s another to thing to be blown away by that inspiration when it comes to life.
Viard is still a fan of the big buttons, as we have witnessed her carry that over from last year’s debut. I especially loved her use of big sparkly buttons on her cropped suit jackets. I am quite the fan of sparkle, and I can’t help but feel like Viard is reading my mind because she continues to deliver on all the things I want to see, and on things I didn't even know I wanted to see.
Most people who know me know I am a huge fan of tights, always have been. There are pictures of me as a child rocking the patterned tights against my collection of dresses. Maybe it's that school girl influence, or maybe it's just their flattering nature and the level of timeless polish they bring to a look. In either case, for me, tights are a wardrobe staple, so one can imagine how much I adored Chanel's show this year. She elevated schoolgirl fashion and brought it to the lives of the modern woman, all while maintaining that chic elegance that has made Chanel so captivating for so many decades.
The tights and patent shoes with ankle socks are the items I wanted to see. The tulle was the item I didn't know I wanted to see. We discussed how she incorporated tulle into the Chanel suit and ankle-grazing skirts, but she also utilized the material for capes.
Capes have been a la mode for a while now, re-entering the fashion sphere after the women of Game of Thrones made it look sexy and powerful. Often times in fashion, if it's been around for a while, it's probably on its way out. Unless, of course, Virginie Viard gets her hands on it and reimagines it with an ultra-feminine fabric, bringing the cape new life and making it feel fresh.
While I can appreciate her tulle capes, my favorite, by far, was Viard's incorporation of tulle into an off-the-shoulder gown. She takes a sleek, simple black frock and adds her signature sparkly brooch in the middle, but the real vision here is the tulle. I was never the biggest fan of tulle unless it was on a tutu. This look is flattering as it hugs the shoulders and draws the eyes to the bare neck. The sheer fabric brings a sultry feel to an otherwise monotoned look, allowing this dress to highlight the woman's feminine features without making her feel restricted. This was Chanel's original vision and mission behind her brand, and I can't help but wonder...how proud would she be, right now?
Virginie, if you’re reading this, I would like to say: You’re doing amazing. You’re amazing. I’m a fan, and I would love to collaborate with you.