The Grand Palais Éphémère was completely done up in tweed for today’s Chanel show: an earthy light brown for the seats, black with shots of pop colors on the walls, and a pale green for the runway, which was designed to represent Scotland’s River Tweed. The region was ground well-trod by Gabrielle Chanel; company lore has it that on her walks in the local countryside she gathered flowers and greenery as references for the colors she wanted from the fabric makers there.
Virginie Viard picked up that thread for fall and tweed was at the heart of her new collection. Because we were in the countryside, she used it on multi-pocket hunting jackets and coats that incorporated downy-looking fleece and for slightly oversized men’s jackets of the sort Chanel lifted from her lover the Duke of Westminster. In photos taken at his lodge in Lochmore and on the terrace at his Eaton Hall country house she wears his borrowed clothes and rubber boots. Viard conjured that weekend getaway spirit with colorful thick-ribbed tights and rubber Wellies or thigh-high waders stamped with the famous interlocking double Cs. “There’s nothing sexier than wearing the clothes of the person you love. I’m fascinated by this ever-contemporary gesture,” she said in her press statement.
Viard’s former boss Karl Lagerfeld made more than passing reference to Scotland in his own work. A memorable Metiers d’Art destination show took him and his team to Linlithgow Palace. But that collection’s brooding romance was replaced here with a vibe brighter and more upbeat, as is Viard’s inclination. She has a good sense for how young women want to wear Chanel for everyday, unpretentiously and with a lot of ease.
The River Tweed aside, Viard had things to say about city dressing too. “I was also thinking about England in the 1960s, and very colorful record covers,” she said. Tweedy shorts suits tapped into that energy as did a pair of short leather shifts. The shiny black kitten heel skimmers the models wore could give the cap-toe slingbacks so beloved by the fashion crowd a run for their money.
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