A new era crystallised at the house of Chanel with the first couture show by Virginie Viard inside the Grand Palais, she built a triple story, circular library stacked with encyclopaedic volumes. It formed the perfect backdrop for a calm and cerebral couture collection. The opening looks – lean coat dresses, wide tweed trousers and sporty skirt suits – were carefully controlled studies in impeccable tailoring. This was a vision of exquisitely rendered modern elegance: controlled, restrained and seductive in its self-assurance.
Viard has an instinct for how modern women want to dress (she always offers plenty of great trouser options). Tweedy day wear turned to the kind of eveningwear that mixed rigour and romance. High- necked and tailored at the top (one velvet gown came with a white bib and bow tie) they fell to full flounced skirts. There were deliciously languid, fluid dresses, lean velvet columns and even a pair of pink flounced pyjamas. There’s an unfussy ease to Viard’s clothes – even though every detail has been deeply thought through. That’s the beauty of couture. That’s the beauty of Chanel.
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans