There was a funny incident that occurred at the Chanel Spring/Summer 2020 finale, during which a comedian stepped on stage to join the models for the closing walk not long before being elegantly confronted and then escorted off by Gigi Hadid. “Chanel is eternal,” the comedian said to Forbes after the event, “my tribute was a desire to take part in this eternity for a few minutes.” Indeed, Chanel’s ability to seamlessly refresh each season is bar none, and the Spring/Summer 2020 collection, marking Virginie Viard’s first solo Ready-to-Wear show, unfolded with such cinematographic perfection that there was ample elegance to subdue the slapstick stunt.
This season, the Grand Palais was transformed into the rooftop of Chez Chanel on Rue Cambon where zinc surfaces, chimney pots and skylights constructed a whimsical show set. The metropolitan landscape was chosen to echo the atmosphere of the “Nouvelle Vague” — the French New Wave cinema movement of the ‘50s and ‘60s notable for capturing the life of French youth. Translated on Viard’s runway were light and flouncy silhouettes with short hems that hindered no movement. Chanel’s proprietary tweed suits appeared as playsuits, jumpsuits and little dresses with flared skirts, often spruced up with flounced collars and cuffs, silk ruffles, and sequinned panels that subtly glimmered in the light. There were trims of matte red sequins like that of a classic red lip, and prints of the skyline that nodded to Lagerfeld’s famous wit. But above all was Viard’s airy elan that reverberated Chanel’s eternal grace with simple, quiet confidence.