“I was nervous for her. But I was so moved by her collection. Of course it was her first, but not entirely. She’s been involved for so many decades next to Karl,” remarked Vanessa Paradis to Vogue Arabia following the Chanel Cruise 2020 show today in Paris. Bathed in light, the Grand Palais appeared almost stark in comparison to last year’s water voyage aboard a makeshift ship “La Pausa.” For this show, the first with longtime studio director (since 1987) Virginie Viard at the helm as creative director, the gargantuan space transformed into a train station platform intended as a “starting point for the great escape,” as per the show notes. “I found that all this open space–apart from showcasing the beauty of the Grand Palais’ structure–lent an exceptional focus on the clothes,” noted Paradis, muse and spokesperson of the house since 1991.
The clothes were on everyone’s lips in a crowd rife with VIPs happy to show their ongoing support to the maison as it officially marked its designer transition. Claudia Schiffer, Keira Knightley, Lily-Rose Depp, and Ali McGraw were just a few of the friends of Chanel spotted chatting in intimate clusters on the wooden benches of the ephemeral station.
Floaty and feminine chiffon gypsy dresses with layers of ruffles appeared in soft pastel colors with a myriad of accents the trained Chanel eye quickly spotted. Belts made of bag chains and ribbons cinched waists, and necks and wrists were layered with semi-precious jewels and of course, bunches of pearls. A slew of tweed skirts cropped high on the thigh reminded that this was a collection for the escapist. The masculine edge the house is known for materialized via loose, cropped trousers lending a casual appeal and tailored jackets. The outerwear was among the highlights, from cardigans to trench coats as featured on hijabi model Ugbad Abdi. The multiple pockets felt easygoing and unfussy, almost utilitarian. As for the bags, there was something for everyone, bubblegum pink oversized carriers held under the arm, micro-bags swung over shoulders like gun holsters, and even backpacks with smaller quilted bags decorating them.
“The collection was totally loyal to what we know of the maison Chanel,” stated Paradis, referring to the house’s many codes. However, we did see a spark of newness. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dress with a zebra-tiger print in yellow,” she grinned. “We can feel that this different tone comes from a woman.”
The last look, a strict low back dress outlined with a gold chain featured a high white collar à la Lagerfeld. It appeared as a quiet but proud tip of the hat to the man who returned Chanel to the forefront of fashion. There were many messages, guests noted walking towards the charming dining carriages of the Belle Epoque café “Le Riviera” for an after show lunch. Deciphering them is quite simply, the pleasure of the journey.