With an audience reflecting the global reach of the brand and its pan-generational clientele—including Chanel’s J12 watch ambassadors Lily-Rose Depp and Ali MacGraw, and an ageless Claudia Schiffer in a scarlet sweater blazoned with the linked Cs, and worn with second-skin jeans—this collection had to cover a lot of ground. It is of course a great challenge to be all things to all people and remain coherent, and Viard’s mood swings saw groupings of cool Parisiennegirl cotton poplin looks—wide pants cropped about the ankle, frothing blouses—followed by shapely Starburst-color tweed jackets worn over leggings (printed with interlocked Cs and other house emblems), and then by kawaii miniskirted classic Chanel skirtsuits in white toweling tweed (worn with adorable matching ballerina slippers with patent toes) and then by pretty, tiered chiffon or lace dresses that evoked Coco Chanel’s late 1930s gitane looks, and Viard’s years at Chloé. There were images of Lagerfeld’s friend, the fashion-plate Princess Caroline of Monaco in her 1980s jet-set years on Viard’s inspiration board for the collection, and there was something of the flavor of that period in the bat-wing sweaters and Memphis Group pastel color-blocking that looked cool on reworked Chanel purses. A sharp scarlet or white-toed black ankle-strap shoe with a chunky cone statement heel also gave a hip styling edge to many of the looks.
Viard’s technical know-how was revealed in such touches as pale leather threaded with an open-work lattice of faggoting, and in the shells worn beneath those suits, or slender, unfussy evening dresses gleaming with embroidered bouquets of petals.
Just as the respectful opening look had suggested the way the liberated young Chanel herself might have dressed in 2020—easy black jacket with wide-leg pants cut short enough not to impede a woman on a mission, and a soft but unfussy white blouse—so the final look paid homage to Lagerfeld himself in a halter dress suspended from a stiff Edwardian collar in his trademark black and white.