Eccentric Girl. Chanel AW20 Couture

Things started looking up for this unusual, digital haute couture season the moment Chanel revealed its gorgeous collection by Virginie Viard. No pointless mega-productions with special effects, just a short video and a proper look-book shot by Mikael Jansson starring Adut Akech and Rianne Van Rompaey. The focus is on the clothes, which are a delight. “I was thinking about eccentric girls,” Virginie Viard said of her autumn-winter 2020 couture line-up. In particular, Viard was remembering Karl Lagerfeld heading off to parties with his sometime muse, the madcap Princess Diane de Beauvau-Craon, who as a teenage debutante got herself an American crewcut to give some punk edge to the pretty but detested pink dress her mother had chosen for her coming-out ball. “Life with her around is the ideal for me,” Lagerfeld said of de Beauvau-Craon when he spoke with Vogue, “because life must never be flat. She gives a light spirit, yet she is deeply spiritual.” Viard wanted to swing to some escapist opulence after last season’s soulful austerity – and because we all need the dream of a grand party right now! Viard was thinking of “things that maybe I would not do in a show – punk hair, fine jewelry.” Those Chanel haute bijoux included yellow diamond lions (Chanel herself was a Leo) and tiaras. The de Beauvau-Craon touch erupts in the form of a short frothy taffeta dress and faille ball skirts or a full-skirted retro cocktail dress of flowering black and white lace spliced with lacquered pink lace – and in punk feather mohawk bangs worn in the hair, and the lace-up court shoes that would have been perfect for dancing the night away in the great 1980s Parisian nightspots Les Bain Douches and Le Palace. As usual in her work, Virginie looks towards the essence of Chanel. Tweed figures large in the collection for day and night: a knee-length tunic worn over boot-leg pants, for instance, or a minidress with the traditional Chanel braid trim reworked in rhinestones. There is more amazing trompe l’oeil in the allover Lesage embroidery of a lean jacket worn with an ankle-length skirt, or in the Emmanuelle Vernoux–embroidered sleeves of a decorous wool ball gown, or the Montex sequin and wool tufts of an off-the-shoulder minidress. Viard provides subtle elegance too –  which I always adore the most in her collections – in pieces that include a sheath of inky faille with bishop sleeves or a solemn evening gown of steel gray silk velvet (my favourite), discreetly dusted with embroidery at the waist and cuff, and jackets with midriffs defined by hand smocking. Viard aptly describes the looks as “casual and grand” – and this is what I call relevant couture.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Simpler. Chloé SS20

It’s Natacha Ramsay-Levi’s fifth season at Chloé, and she decided on some changes. Less over-sophisticated details, boho prints and messy accessorising for spring-summer 2020. “I’m thinking of it as chapter two for myself. I’ve tried a lot of different things; I thought, let’s simplify – be honest and true.” While such approach results in less ‘show-stoppers’ for magazine editorials (and stuff that always ends up on heavy discount), this collection proved to be one of her strongest in a while. Where earlier Ramsay-Levi might have avoided familiar Chloé-isms, like the particular shade of creamy peach associated with the brand since Karl Lagerfeld’s days, here she used them a lot: the show ended with a pair of long, graceful pleated dresses in the color. Micro-floral-print frocks were styled unbuttoned and worn over a silk bra and trousers – the look had a romantic, vintage feel. Making things simpler really works from time to time.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

No Borders

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This colour palette. The drama. A bit of ‘The Danish Girl’ vibes.

Publication: Vogue Italia March 2016 
Model: Rianne van Rompaey, Lorena Maraschi, Ally Ertel, Anna Cleveland, Caitie Greene, Kit Butler, Niels Trispel, Katlin Aas, China Machado, Marc-André Turgeon, Erika Linder, Yasmin Wijnaldum 
Photographer: Steven Meisel, Benn Northover
 Fashion Editor: Olivier Rizzo

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