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If there was any lingering doubt about the skill of Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard, then her 2020 haute couture show proved once and for all what a masterful designer she is.

In lieu of a standard fashion show, the autumn / winter 2020-21 haute couture collection was unveiled as a series of startlingly beautiful photographs by Mikael Jansson, via the company’s website. Donned by models Adut Akech and Rianne Van Rompaey, the collection is strong, modern, elegant and utterly desirable.

A look from Chanel’s autumn / winter 2020-21 collection. Courtesy Chanel

Comprising of just 30 looks, under Viard’s skilled hand the collection moved briskly through day wear and cocktail dresses to glorious, but perfectly toughened, evening wear.

“I was thinking about a punk princess coming out of Le Palace at dawn,” reveals Viard in the accompanying show notes.

“With a taffeta dress, big hair, feathers and lots of jewellery. This collection is more inspired by Karl Lagerfeld than Gabrielle Chanel. Karl would go to Le Palace, he would accompany these very sophisticated and very dressed up women, who were very eccentric too.”

A look from Chanel’s autumn / winter 2020-21 collection. Courtesy Chanel

Showcasing the expertise of the ateliers of Lesage, Lemarié, Montex and Goossens, the resulting looks see sequins, beading and strass crystals scattered over Chanel’s signature tweed, but kept sleek and modern in gunmetal grey, silver anthracite and black.

“I like working like this, going in the opposite direction of what I did last time. I wanted complexity, sophistication,” Viard continued.

A look from Chanel’s autumn / winter 2020-21 collection. Courtesy Chanel

Speaking about Viard’s transition to the role of creative director, Bruno Pavolvsky, Chanel’s president of fashion, says: “Virginie is feeling more and more comfortable. It is not easy to come after Karl, and it’s only been one year. I have to remind people that our first collection was cruise 2019, that’s only one year ago.

“I think Virginie is very talented. Virginie is a woman designing for women, and she has a sense of what is good today for our customers.”

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