Chanel’s catwalk catalogue is filled with elaborate stages, but all it took to set the scene for the fall/winter haute couture presentation on the banks of the Seine in July was a bit of sidewalk chalk. With the Eiffel Tower standing tall across the river, cobblestones shaded in sweet pinks and purples placed full focus on the models and how they embody the experience of moving through Paris, their tailored tweeds and floral dresses complementing and clashing with the cityscape. As a nod to the French capital’s romanticism, some models carried wicker baskets of flowers that were echoed in the clothing’s vibrant embroidery.
“Playing with opposites and contrasts, with nonchalance and elegance, is like standing on a line between strength and delicacy, which, at Chanel, is what we call allure,” noted creative director Virginie Viard in the collection’s show brief. To capture that dichotomy, Viard looked to French singer and actor Vanessa Paradis as her muse and created a wardrobe of classic suits, eveningwear with abbreviated hemlines and a dress that married a sheer, corseted top with a full skirt. In a fashion moment that often focuses on ephemeral notions of celebrity and trends, it highlighted how the Chanel team often rethinks inspiration from the brand’s own history to signal how it’s moving into the future.
While the show and Chanel’s couture ateliers are located in the heart of Paris, many of the artisan workshops that the house relies on to execute its most intricate details are concentrated at Le19M in the Aubervilliers suburb north of the city. The industrial campus, where the images for this story were captured, represents new notions for the city – and the future of haute couture. The contemporary building, cloaked in a screen of concrete that evokes the weave of textiles, houses studios populated by established craftspeople and emerging hands that safeguard the know-how behind Chanel’s fashion fantasies.
STANDOUT PIECES AND DETAILS
For the fall collection, Le19M ateliers Desrues, Lesage, Atelier Montex and Massaro each contributed their unique expertise. A green tweed set and a sheer black blouse with suspenders both capture the exuberant embroidery of Lesage. Montex created the three-dimensional florals and fruits that were the show’s standout detail. Massaro was responsible for the classic flats and gold-accented heels that stood out on the pastel-flecked river walk.
All clothing and accessories by Chanel (chanel.com). Styling by Nadia Pizzimenti. Makeup by Julie Cusson for Chanel Beauty using Le Rouge Duo Ultra Tenue lip colour in 184 Intense Brown and N°1 de Chanel Skin Enhancer in Intense Amber. Hair by Vincent Yves-Marie Zimberlin. Model: Ellen Rosa at Premier Model Management. Styling assistant: Yara Bourgi. Photographed at Le19M in Paris (le19m.com).
Style Advisor travelled to Paris as a guest of Chanel. The company did not review or approve this article prior to publication.