Virginie Viard reimagines an intimate wedding in the South of France
For Chanel’s Spring 2019 couture outing, the late Karl Lagerfeld had transported us to an Italian villa shaded by palm trees as ‘Parole Parole’ echoed in the backdrop. While Lagerfeld never came to take a bow, the show’s bride sparkled in a shine-on swimsuit. Now it seems like far too long ago when larger-than-life runway shows pretty much underscored the sublime yet disarming power of haute couture. Cut to the present, when couture is being presented in the post pandemic world, when we’ve come closer to our families after spending most of 2020 in our country homes. Hence this spirit of quiet, intimate celebrations was at the heart of Virginie Viard’s outing where she reimagined a bohemian wedding in the South of France attended by close members of the bride’s and groom’s families.
Over decades, Chanel shows have always celebrated Coco’s core insignias - from the Art Deco mirrors of her apartment to her Venetian lions to the austere yet charming Abbey of Aubazine - the orphanage where Coco grew up. This time, interior designer Jacques Grange recreated the iconic mirrored staircase, inculcating Coromandel screens and gilded wheatsheaf tables by Goossens.
Coming to the clothes which sparkled in the Parisian light as models comprising an elegant entourage of bridesmaids and guests sashayed past the show’s star attendees (who were seated as per social distancing Covid protocols) - the house’s ambassadors - actors Penelope Cruz and Marion Cottilard, singer Vanessa Paradis with her mini me Lily Rose Depp.
While on one hand, the label’s signature embellished lunch suits, lace jumpsuits, tweed coat dresses and snug-fitting cardigans set the tone of sartorial exuberance, which is synonymous with the hallowed French house, on the other hand, model’s real flowers in the hair lent a touch of rustic charm. It was a chic country wedding after all.
The addition of crisp boyfriend shirts, high waisted pants and chiffon singlets injected a day time wear appeal. So the couture client has the freedom to be the mixologist - either team a satin shirt with a sublime ballet skirt or wear it with pants.
The final bridal satin skirt dress (which came with a high neck collar and cuffs) in ivory had a tone on tone cascading pearl butterfly embroidery realised by Lesage - a nod to the roaring 20s mood yet of-the-moment.
Also, the fact that the bride rode a beautiful white horse’s side saddle before getting off could have been a link to Coco’s past steeped in polo matches - when she lived at Château de Royallieu owned by her then lover, Étienne Balsan - a keen equestrian himself. During this period, she not only borrowed elements from men’s wardrobe, but also nurtured a taste in simple pleasures of life and the idea of luxury.
It won’t be an exaggeration to deduce that Virginie Viard’s deep connection with Coco’s heritage and a practical approach to occasion wear clearly makes her ahead of the couture pack.
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