Chanel Fall 2020 Haute Couture Is Punk-Rock

Chanel Fall 2020 Haute Couture Is Punk-Rock

Chanel Fall 2020 Haute Couture Is Punk-Rock

Paying homage to the house's late designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Paying homage to the house's late designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Text: Valerie Stepanova

The digital installment of Paris Haute Couture continued this Tuesday with Chanel unveiling one of the most highly-anticipated collections of the year. This time around, it came in a form of a digital-only presentation, and the house’s creative director Virginie Viard has taken a swift U-turn from the quiet, somewhat monastic aesthetic of her January couture show. Very streamlined in her approach to Chanel’s codes up until now, Viard emerged from lockdown with a couture line marked by unapologetic maximalism and apparent desire for shimmering opulence.

The designer said that those big and bold retro looks were more Lagerfeld than Coco; party dresses, Marie-Antoinette shoes, bling — all paying homage to late designer’s social life. “I was thinking about a punk princess coming out of ‘Le Palace’ at dawn, with a taffeta dress, big hair, feathers and lots of jewelry,” Viard reveals. “This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel. Karl would go to ‘Le Palace’, he would accompany these very sophisticated and very dressed up women, who were very eccentric too.”

The collection gave off signs of this ultra-rock romanticism indeed. Deeply textured, colorful tweeds layered with gold chains, brooches and pearls; flamboyant jackets with smocked detailing on sleeves on the sleeves and midriff; a black moiré evening dress with a plunging shawl collar and rhinestone braiding. Short dresses with cinched waists and corolla skirts were presented alongside grand and majestic long dresses fit for the noble authority of heroines escaping from 19th-century tableaux.

“It’s true that I thought about paintings, but it was more German paintings,” Virginie Viard confirms.

Black and anthracite grey tonalities are illuminated with flashes of pink, while painted laces and silver-streaked tweeds enriched bolero jackets. Taper boot-trousers in black suede confined Viard’s desire to give this haute couture collection a punk-rock touch. “For me, Haute Couture is romantic by its very essence. There is so much love in each one of these silhouettes.”   

The house of Chanel has also announced that three episodes shot in the Haute Couture ateliers are to be released on Thursday, July 9. With this doom-and-gloom mood hanging over the luxury sector, Viard is confident the house will stay relevant even in this digital-forward world: “Haute couture? It’s forever, it’s for always.”

Credits: The collection was photographed by Mikael Jansson

UP NEXT

Balmain’s Sur Seine Shifts the Tide for Haute Couture Runways
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the French house, and the end of Parisian lockdown orders.