French lessons
InStyle Australia|March 2020
For the first time in over 30 years, a new creative force has taken the reins at Chanel. Artistic director Virginie Viard is finding modern cut-through by focusing her vision close to home
NATALIE MELL

Perched atop a makeshift rooftop scene, model Gigi Hadid gazes across Paris’ Grand Palais, its glass ceiling welcoming the city’s silvery grey sky. It’s Virginie Viard’s first ready-to-wear outing since her appointment as artistic director at Chanel, and while Hadid and her sister Bella have become renowned for their modern streetwear-infused style, today Viard is zeroing in on the original proponents of cool: French girls. Sitting front row is label ambassador Caroline de Maigret, who, having co-authored the book How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are, clearly understands her country’s enduring appeal. Sartorially speaking, it’s that covetable ability to look utterly chic without it feeling like you’ve tried too hard—something Viard nailed by trading tricked-up theatrics for a collection that offered a quietly confident entree into the spring/ summer 2020 season.

Silhouettes were simple: slouchy cardigans, skirts that tuliped at the waist to move with unimpeded freedom, and pants that ranged from pleat-waist jeans to relaxed capri cuts and breezy palazzo styles. Notably, an abundance of shorts filtered through the collection, some so brief they could be labeled hotpants, but Viard layered those over black opaque stockings or under extra-long outerwear for a clever equalizing effect. A longer tailored pair cut from Chanel’s signature tweed and styled with a matching jacket delivered a more wearable riff on the trend, and was quickly earmarked a fashion-editor favorite.

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