The City of Light and the City of Angels came together in perfect harmony as Virginie Viard staged her first Chanel Cruise show in Los Angeles. On a skating rink set up on a lot in the iconic Paramount Studios, she lightened up her vision of the Chanel woman and took her in a fun, new direction. The first looks said it all: cropped halter and tank tops, hot pants, spangled one-piece swimsuits—all worn with scrunched-up, Chanel-branded legwarmers and big, blown-out hair. The vibe was joyful, tinged with ‘80s nostalgia. It was less red carpet and silver screen than it was rollerblading on Venice Beach and Jane Fonda workout videos.
From there, Viard danced through the decades. The suits had a ‘60s sensibility—cropped and boxy; while dresses were imbued with a ‘30s kind of glamour. In her lifetime, Coco Chanel worked with the Hollywood studios and created the costumes for a handful of movies, including Gloria Swanson’s wardrobe as an opera diva in the 1931 film, Tonight Or Never. There was a bit of that era’s languor in the looks—some served straight up and some remixed for our modern times via embellished T-shirt dresses or tank tops worn with slim, feathered skirts.
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In addition to the House’s emblematic black and white, Viard also convincingly painted with a rich, amped-up palette. Most alluring was her take on Barbie pink; Margot Robbie—currently promoting the upcoming film—and Paris Hilton, both sitting in the front row, would definitely approve. The golds and gradient hues that Viard used to great effect also romantically evoked the light and hues of the Californian sky.
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Viard’s Chanel has always been chic but it also has a tendency to be quite serious. Here, she really expanded her range—and she did it all with the lightest of touch. A brilliant rendition of the House’s classic tweed suit came in lightly sparkling purple and instead of trousers or a skirt, it was worn with hot pants and a striped knit in sunset hues emblazoned with palm trees. Viard nailed effortless sex appeal with a pair of high-cut, hot pink metallic briefs worn with a striped henley knit. A sequinned crop top paired with a long peasant skirt and belly chains in pearls looked like the height of hippie glamour. There were playful embroideries that nodded to the campy sensibilities of Karl Lagerfeld—think disco balls, palm trees and milkshakes. The season’s novelty accessories—always a highlight—came in the form of a No. 5 skateboard, star-shaped bags and light-up heels. “The idea is to offer a breath of fresh air, a voyage, a light-hearted and happy fantasy,” says Viard of the collection. It’s a voyage on which plenty of women will delightfully go along.
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