Chanel revisits Deauville roots with cinematic flair at Paris Fashion Week


PARIS — In a cinematic homage blurring fashion and film, Chanel transported its audience at Paris Fashion Week to a fictional Deauville for its latest showcase. The black and white film of the Normandy seaside town, starring Brad Pitt and front-row observer Penelope Cruz, evoked Chanel’s roots. Fusing the 1920s heyday of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel with the drama of the ’70s, designer Virginie Viard recreated the founder’s gender-fluid wardrobe from the “winter sojourns by the sea.” Deauville changed the course of Chanel and arguably the Paris fashion industry.

Here are some highlights of fall-winter 2024 ready-to-wear shows:

Pitt and Cruz, depicted as lovers in the idyllic town, captivated guests who watched the romance unfold on giant plasma screens, with scenes of beach frolics and bonding over an order of medium-rare Chateaubriand steaks. Deauville, which influenced Viard’s fall aesthetic with its floppy beach hats, played a pivotal role in Chanel’s journey from licensed milliner to revolutionary designer.

“Deauville is where everything started for the house,” Viard said. It’s where Chanel drew inspiration from the world around her: the salty and striped uniforms of the fishermen, the speed of horses at the racetrack, the chic madames sunning on the sands.

“For this collection, we recreated the Deauville boardwalk,” Viard said, with chunky sailor sweaters, dressing gown-style belted coats and strong-shoulder peacoats. The colors evoked the hues of the town’s romantic skies with pinks, pale blue and oranges.

Despite the poetical musing and finely proportioned coats, the penchant for accessories sometimes distracted from the garments and, at times, muddied the clarity of Viard’s vision. The setting evoked memories of a past spectacle by Karl Lagerfeld, her flamboyant predecessor, known for transforming the Grand Palais into a real beach with actual water. Some attendees felt the décor, and the clothes, this time lacked vibrancy by comparison.

Miu Miu’s fall collection took a playful jab at the transition from childhood to adulthood. Miuccia Prada’s tongue-in-cheek little sister brand once again addressed profound themes through the lens of frivolity.

Cropped sleeves, rounded-toe shoes and pajamas with outerwear amid exaggeratedly shrunken proportions evoked the Tom Hanks movie “Big.” Adulthood was seen as gloves and handbags, brooches, tailoring. The human condition, the pioneering designer seemed to say, was sometimes a fusion of both.

Miu Miu’s creations consistently embody a youthful spirit, merging elegance with playful defiance. This is evident in unexpected styling choices like pairing sometimes clashing classic pieces with undergarments or athletic wear, challenging traditional fashion norms.



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