1980s and nightlife with Karl: what inspired Chanel’s couture collection

“I was thinking about how it all began. When I first met Karl (it happened in the 1980s), he often invited me to his home, or we went to nightclubs together – we visited Les Bains Douches and Le Palace, ”says Chanel creative director Virginie Viard in the time of our conversation with her in Zoom and during the conversation shows an old photo of Karl. In the frame, he is in the company of Princess Gloria Thurn y Taxis, a representative of the German monarchy, who at one time was famous for her love of dancing as for the last time in the most luxurious jewelry. “I really liked that era, people then dressed up more,” adds the designer.

Chanel Couture Fall Winter 2020

“I had a soft spot for jewelry — everything a little eccentric,” she continues. Other accessories – pointed shoes and trendy bows (worn over loosely bunched hair) – added the feeling of a big and lush party. “This collection is all about glamor, it’s intricate and a bit quirky. Very English – romantic and dreamy ”- this is how Viard describes his next couture line for Chanel.

History of Haute Couture Week in numbers

But the 2020s are not at all like the 1980s. Since the beginning of the epidemic, high fashion, like the rest of the world, has been in strict isolation. If the nightclubs mentioned above still existed, they would definitely be quarantined. Yet Virginie turned to the topic of new glamor. Photographer Mikael Jansson, a student of Avedon himself, helped to give the result the desired shape. This is his first experience with Chanel in his career.

Chanel Couture Fall Winter 2020

We came up with a special presentation format for clients. The dancing models sparkling with bare knees and intricate tweed jackets are great, but they move too fast. In order for regular customers to get a good look at everything, they will be sent lookbooks with a full list of colors and pictures of the smallest details. Only the residents of Paris will be able to see the collection alive.

Lesage embroidery and other decor – hand-woven lace and creations by Emmanuelle Vernou – all this kind of revives, makes tangible the skills of 35 craftsmen and needlewomen from the Paraffection company controlled by Chanel. “I wanted everyone to participate in the creation of the collection,” says Viard. – For Chanel, couture remains couture, I involved everyone in the work.

By the way, another company joined Paraffection – Vimar 1991 (supplier of tweed). “They make fabulous tweed!” – exclaims Viard.

Chanel Couture Fall Winter 2020

But where is the magic in this virtual show? Where is that rampant heartbeat that breeds passion? The answer is simple – it is impossible to adequately evaluate the collection only from pictures and videos, despite the work invested in them, on narrow waists in fluffy skirts with a flowing hem and on tweed dresses with slits (designed to balance prominent shoulders).

It is a shame to admire the extraordinary hand-made decor on the plane. Obviously, the dress embroidered in silver is beautiful in its sophistication. But not have the slightest idea of ​​how the three-dimensional flowers were created, literally “sprouting” through the sleeves of one of the evening dresses? Where have you seen this? Even the rings, sparkling brighter than the glittering marigolds, were hard to see — and the updated crystal buttons were too.

Chanel Couture Fall Winter 2020

What’s the verdict? Disappointment. We all know that behind flat photographs lies the great and extraordinary skill of Chanel. Next time, please, let’s meet in person!

Fortunately, a live show is scheduled for October. The show will take place at the Grand Palais just before it closes for major renovations. At the end of the same October, Chanel scheduled the opening of the exhibition, it will be hosted by the Galliera Museum. Let’s cross our fingers in Chanel rings and wait …

Chanel Couture Fall Winter 2020


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