There is always a mood board, inspiration or a quote behind a collection. The saying that would best describe the Chanel Spring 2020 Haute Couture is ‘Simplicity is keynote of all true elegance’ – Coco Chanel.
The Mademoiselle herself lived by that quote, echoed into her designs and made a fashion empire around it. She was the one that dressed rich women in workmen clothes and was praised for the evolution and the sense of freedom she introduced to her clientele.
Virginie Viard is the successor, the one that has to follow the style of the House of Chanel, yet include her own note. For the Spring 2020 Haute Couture show, she took us to the convent of Auzabine, in the remote village of Correze. A place full of history for Coco, and in result for women around the world. A place where an 11 year old Mademoiselle was left to live when her mother passed. Auzabine is where Coco Chanel learned how to sew.
The geometry of the convent’s architecture, the black and white uniforms that schoolgirls used to wear and the simple colour palette of black, white and grey Chanel was known for, stayed with her forever. She would take those elements, woven with clean white linen into her memory and would conquer the world of fashion and reshape the 20th century. Back then, women wore heavy dresses with very tight corsets, which were sometimes uncomfortable to spend a whole day into. It was Coco who showed everyone that clothes are to be lived a fun, daring life into.
Going back to the roots of the history of the House, Virginie visited the convent in Correze, and felt the originality and artistry that that place had plenty of. The little convent garden was recreated in the Grand Palais for the show. The schoolgirls uniforms with their Peter Pan collars were remodeled, so they would follow a woman’s natural curves. The lace embroidery, a craft nuns are famous for, found its way back to the runway. Virginie presented innocence, maturity and clarity. The small range of colours used in the clothes did not make the collection boring, it actually made one pay more attention to the details and the work that goes into creating a garment.
The bride dress is the jewel of the Couture collection. And the Chanel bride in this show was the most angelic, pure, effortless bride. She’s not a princess, she’s a modern woman, representing the spontaneity we strive to achieve.
Photo: Alessandro Lucioni / Gorunway.com
In a fast paced reality that we live in, it’s always good to go back to the roots. Not to forget where one comes from and to draw inspiration from it, that’s where true creativity lies. The cradle of memories is where ideas are born.