Chanel calls time on extravagant Paris fashion shows

June 09, 2020

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PARIS: French fashion designer Virginie Viard for Chanel.—AFP
PARIS: French fashion designer Virginie Viard for Chanel.—AFP

CHANEL may be about to bring down the curtain on its ultra-spectacular Paris fashion shows, its new designer Virginie Viard hinted on Monday, as the French brand revealed its first collection since the virus crisis. Extravagant, hugely theatrical shows on enormous sets inside the French capital’s Grand Palais became synonymous with the luxury label during the long reign of German designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died last year.

But his discreet successor Viard, the Kaiser’s longtime right-hand woman, said recreating almost life-sized space rockets, jumbo jets, river gorges, Eiffel Towers and even complete Alpine villages was not her thing. “I have never been a fan of pharaonic shows, even if they were great with Karl,” she told the French daily Le Figaro.

Even so, she said that coronavirus permitting, Chanel would return to the Grand Palais for its next show during Paris fashion week in October. “It is a place filled with memories, and every time we marvelled [at the shows]. I like the cinematic aspect of what we did there,” she added. Viard, 58, who dreamt of being a film director before dedicating herself to fashion, revealed the cruise collection through a studio-shot film. The collection was very much in Viard’s own image with plenty of deft Parisian classic chic touches to go along with bare midriffs adorned with strings of jewellery and tummy belts, tiny bags, flip up sunglasses and gladiator-style armband bracelets.

Cruise collections traditionally showcase holiday wear for glamorous foreign travel, a luxury some jetsetters may have to forego this year. The daughter of two doctors, Viard said she was not immune to the effects of the coronavirus which she said has “left us all feeling more fragile”, and therefore steered clear of evening dresses. Instead she wanted to create something “simple and luxurious and charming”. And she insisted that Chanel’s haute couture collection will be ready to show in Paris in July, when the shows will be held digitally.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2020