Since taking the helm at Chanel this year, Virginie Viard has deftly set upon defining her era at Chanel: It's a bit less grandiose than that of predecessor Karl Lagerfeld, but honors the legacy of the house in a refined, elegant way. On Dec. 4, Viard presented her first Métiers d'Arts show, which celebrates the house's skilled artisans and their various crafts including millinery, pleating, and beading. But if anything stood out on Chanel's 2020 Métiers d'Arts runway were the mini bags styled with some of the looks.
The Doublemint sized iteration of the brand's signature quilted designs was a playful addition to the collection which was both relaxed and sophisticated. Tie-dye t-shirts and bouclé jackets (sans shirt) walked alongside feather and lace dresses. The collection was titled "31 Rue Cambon" after the address of Coco Chanel's apartment, which was replicated inside Paris's Grand Palais as the backdrop for the runway show, serving as a homage to the heart of the brand. And in many ways the collection had a nostalgic touch for those most classic elements of Chanel — the camellia flower is a motif recreated for the collection by a number of the artisans throughout, but so too the signature suit sets and pearls. While recent seasons took the show to New York's Met Museum and Karl Lagerfeld's native Hamburg, this season was a homecoming and a chance to show off exactly what the brand does best.
While the collection flowed with a relaxed sense of sophistication, it's important to note that Métier d'Arts collections are far from simple. It's often not until you get up close and see the clothing in person that you're able to take in the detail and handiwork that goes into making each piece by hand. In a behind the scenes video on the brand's Instagram Viard says, "I always want it to be like a treasure to wear a Chanel garment," which is exactly the feeling imparted when you factor in the hours required to bring each piece to life.
As for trends, technically the Métiers d'Art show is a pre-fall collection, offering a glimpse of the way you can expect the brand to move forward in 2020. As with much of the fashion industry, suiting remains a key theme — both skirt sets and silky high-waisted trousers. Viard continued her offering of fitted leggings, debuting a stirrup style worn with the brand's iconic cap-toe pumps. And, it seems low-rise waistbands may be poised to make a return as many of the skirts and pants on the runway sat lower on the hip than is the norm for the industry these days. Accessorized with the layered chain necklaces and glittery belts from the runway, the effect is unsurprisingly quite Parisian — quite Coco. Viard's long tenure with the brand makes her deftly able to envision just what it would look like should a young Chanel invite friends to 31 Rue Cambon in 2019. Surely, sweatshirts and mini bags would be involved.