Having first joined CHANEL in the late 1980s, Virginie Viard has a long history with the Maison. Rising from petites mains to become artistic director during her decade’s long tenure, her passion and respect for the heritage, history, and codes of CHANEL is quite evident in the recently shown Fall-Winter 2020/21 Ready-to-Wear collection. Speaking of the House, Viard notes “I love CHANEL so much, this collection could only be a new ode.” And an ode it was, the collection is a sartorial love letter to the CHANEL universe first introduced by Gabrielle Chanel and later championed by Karl Lagerfeld. However, Viard also manages to inject a fresh modernity into this and other collections she has designed for CHANEL since assuming the title of artistic director.
Fall-Winter 2020/21 has an airy lightness to it. Romantic yet unpretentious, it exudes a relaxed and effortless elegance that seems to be a hallmark of Viard’s designs for CHANEL. A nod to Gabrielle Chanel’s love of horseracing, and the polo playing Boy Capel, there are pieces done in style of jockey silks. A mint green skirt suit, the jacket long and liner and skirt featuring a front slit, brings to mind the austere glamour of Mademoiselle Chanel herself. Pieces reference a particular photograph of the late Karl Lagerfeld in Edwardian inspired suit and boots. Dandy-esque ruffled shirts and collars harken back to a bygone era without being overly done. Further historic CHANEL references can be found in the abundance of Byzantine inspired finishings whose rich jewel tones inject a hint of color into a palette that is almost exclusively black and white. However, there a few delicate touches of pale green and pink that add a softness and romanticism to the collection.
With models taking to the runway in pairs and even trios, relaxed and even chatting and smiling among themselves, it added a touch of freedom to not just the presentation but the collection on a whole. This is undoubtably my favorite ready-to-wear collection of Viard’s yet and makes me so excited to see what is to come for CHANEL. And lest we forget the accessories, I’ll be dedicating an entire post this coming week to the stunning pieces that are part of the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2020/21 Ready-to-Wear collection.