CHANEL’s Love Letter to the French Capital


The CHANEL Spring / Summer 2020 Show pays tribute to Paris, a particular view chosen by Artistic Director Virginie Viard. Roofs so typical of the fashion capital and the rue Cambon with their zinc surfaces, walkways, chimney pots and windows opening onto the sky. Its a youthful breeze of liberty that blows across the rooftops of Paris. “The roofs of Paris remind me of the atmosphere of the Nouvelle Vague I saw silhouettes walking on the roofs,” Virginie Viard continued in the show notes.

“Today, the ethereal allure is dancing. Accessorised with sandals that come with jewelled or strass-embellished straps or are flat and two-tone, and occasionally little hats, the silhouette is fluid and light. The materials are supple and hinder no movements. For both day and night, the collection plays with the simplicity and balance of volume. Jackets with flounced collars and cuffs and short skirts reinterpret the tweed suit. Capri pants and denim jackets with ruffles also join the dance. Very pure little white coats finished with braid, are worn with voluminous skirts and tops in black and white tweed. The straight-cut masculine tweed jacket is revisited, transformed into playsuits, jumpsuits or a little dress with a flared skirt. Long coats come in tweed or wool crêpe while a striped top and a carelessly knotted shirt add masculine-feminine accents.

Satin, silk faille and taffetas carry the short, wraparound or asymmetric skirts, always worn high on the waist: petticoated, or not, with organza, they move with an unimpeded freedom. Their charm is enhanced with ruffled tops and delicate pleated blouses with balloon sleeves embellished with little bows or raffia and organza petals.
In their transparency, the fabrics reveal the breathtaking work of the ateliers required for the construction of the dresses and their handkerchief hems. Tiers of printed chiffon, organza, feathers and raffia fringes structure the delicate tops and long skirts. Embroidered around the collar with sequins in matte red like a lipstick, dresses in anthracite chiffon are printed with Parisian facades. Their flat pleats seem ready to float away with beautiful amplitude. A series of skirts, jackets and a long dress pass by in silk twill printed in the tonalities of dusk, with braids and trimmings in two-tone grosgrain.

Stripes, checks, vibrant block colours – red, orange, pink, blue – illuminate the collection and the emblematic black and white of the House. The prints are in unison: on one ultra-graphic version, the letters of CHANEL haphazardly stand out from the roofs.

In a large version, the CHANEL 19 bag comes swathed in printed silk twill, while the 11.12 bag is back in tweed to match its suit. Zip-up bags in leather or tweed are reminiscent of schoolgirls’ pencil cases: the CHANEL signature appears handwritten in chain interlaced with leather. The flap bag is refreshed with a wrist bracelet or a braid in two-tone grosgrain ribbon. Others have a more precious note: beads set with chains or sequinned embroideries with floral motifs. Gently, a ruffle is laid here on a strap or there on the flap of a half-moon clutch.
Ever present, couture jewellery is worn in accumulation: pearl sautoirs and brooches, necklaces in coloured crystal or punctuated with strass-covered balls and cuff bracelets signed CHANEL PARIS.

Feminine, urban, in motion, never the same and yet always identifiable, the silhouette of CHANEL’s Spring-Summer 2020 Ready-to-Wear collection has the nonchalant grace of a cinematographic heroine. Inspiring, contemporary, eternal.”

“The roofs of Paris remind me of the atmosphere of the Nouvelle Vague I saw silhouettes walking on the roofs,” Virginie Viard continued in the show notes.

Photography by Sylvia & Julia Haghjoo