Take us to the Cote d’Azure and let us live out our best, feel-good, Chanel-girl fantasy. We'll be wearing a perfect one piece swimsuit, tweed cape and a pair of Chanel flip flops that are about to go viral. That seemed to be the thinking behind Virginie Viard’s hit collection, which delivered covetable clothes and accessories with a major serotonin hit.
Viard described it as an “ode to liberty and to movement, and tells a story that has its origins in the gardens of the villa Noailles.”
The extraordinary, modernist Villa near Hyeres, was designed in 1923 by Robert Mallet-Stevens for sophisticated art patrons Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles. They were contemporaries and customers of Chanel, moving in the same art circles.
Karl Lagerfeld photographed the Villa in 1995 and in the intervening years the house of Chanel has solidified the link, and is currently sponsoring its centenary celebrations. Noailles sunken cubist gardens inspired Viard’s set, but the bright, light, sunny vibe of the Cote d’Azur infused the clothes. She opened with a loose tweed trouser suit, followed by a kaftan and then a tweed cape that doubled as a beach cover-up before moving on to denim fisherman’s smocks and jeans slung with a single strand of pearls. The models wore studious glasses, which exuded a nerdy charm.
The iconic Chanel suit came with a distinctive must-have, high-low asymmetric hemline. Jackets were cut like cardigans or loose v-neck smocks. Gigi Hadid’s black sequin seventies-style trouser suit epitomised the easy, breezy chic of it. For evening lace and transparency took over with a slew of graceful black party dresses, before the show closed on a high with gowns and trouser suits in punchy seventies-style florals. The geometry of the Villa might have inspired a triangular take on Chanel’s classic quilted purses. Elsewhere cute mini purse necklaces, camera bags, sparkly ballet pumps and crochet beach bags dialled up the wit.
The brand has so much heritage and history, Viard incorporated all of its codes and nuances into the collection but also reached out to a young generation with light, lovely, youthful skews that will ensure the legend lives on. It soared.