While the Grand Palais, scene of so many elaborately staged Chanel spectaculars, undergoes an epic renovation, Virginie Viard switched to a temporary replacement venue, set up in the shadow of Les Invalides, for her first runway show with an audience in 12 months.
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The show decor, dominated by a giant image of Swiss model/actress Vivienne Rohner holding a camera, was a tribute to the heightened emotion and magic of fashion shows in the 1980s.
“I used to love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the ’80s”, designer Virginie Viard recalled in Chanel show notes. “I wanted to recapture that emotion”. So this season, Viard attempted to channel that energy and joy in a collection that not only referenced the era in the clothes, staging (raised runway lined by photographers snapping photos of the models), and accessories (purses shaped like N°5 bottles, which celebrates its centenary this year; piratically flared Louis heels), model’s attitudes (they twirled, strutted, and smiled their way down the runway) but even the soundtrack: Witness George Michael’s anthemic “Freedom! ’90” – in a contemporary cover version by Christine and the Queens – getting the models in the party spirit.
As for the clothes, the collection featured a lot of very simple bathing suits in gold or white with black trimmings. Short dresses in pink or mauve tweed, fishnet skirts, oversized jackets in a variety of hues, including a lilac version printed with double-C logos and denim suits. There were also a lot of prints: big, colourful butterfly wings on black chiffon.
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