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Chanel’s Fall Couture Was Librarian Chic At Its Finest

Shelves filled with books, the show came complete with bowties, spectacles, and a surprisingly refreshing choice of colours.

To many, the Grand Palais is simply just another landmark in Paris. But to us, we see Grand Palais as Chanel’s home, one where they transform every few months, bringing the Chanel fantasy to life in one single building.

Debuting her first haute couture show, Virginie Viard brought guests to a serene library, inspired by the one in Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment on rue Cambon. Walls of shelving were filled with books, complete with plush pockets of seating areas.

The first models floated down the staircases in skinny long tweed coats, with slits that flashed white stockings, paired perfectly with contrasting white buttons. Her play on suits exuded a different form of femininity that exudes more masculinity than Karl Lagerfeld’s, punctuated with a bevy of bubble skirts and shoulders, bows and skirts filled with tulle. Complete with glasses, it’s librarian chic at its finest.

Viard’s choice of colours were unexpected yet elegant and still very wearable – bursts of magenta, orange and violet, emerald, coral. The chic, almost nonchalant vibe to her pieces came in the form of fluidity, volume and graphic panels. Almost every look had an eye-catching detail, which brought the focus to a specific point or area, be it the white buttons, cuffs or belts. Bows can be extremely feminine, but Viard’s strategic use of them – perhaps a continuation of her first solo season – elevates a masculine look, embellishing them with unique flair.

Even in the intimate setting, couture is never just clothes. It’s hours of beading, weaving and experimenting. It may look like a simple panel of white across a dress, but the small 3D flowers embroidered onto the garment pops out, one that captures gazes so easily. Feathers were pressed down into patterns, pleats that move like an accordion, and miles and miles of beading, each one like an art piece.

As always, a bride closes the show. But this time, she’s not in white. The bride is dressed in the most comfortable-looking, feathered bathrobe in a light, dusty pink. The unconventional bridal look may just be Viard’s way of expressing the modern women’s desire for comfort, practicality and something against the grain, but still keeping in touch with their feminine side, on their own terms.

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