A model presents a creation by designer Virginie Viard as part of her Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019/20 collection show for fashion house Chanel in Paris, France, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
A model presents a creation by designer Virginie Viard as part of her Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2019/20 collection show for fashion house Chanel in Paris, France, July 2, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Lagerfeld successor brings demure librarians to Chanel catwalk

Tue, Jul. 2, 2019
PARIS (Reuters) - Buttoned up looks fit for a studious afternoon in the library filled Chanel’s Haute Couture runway show on Tuesday, as models paraded around an enormous bookcase in designer Virginie Viard’s second, closely-watched solo outing for the French brand.

Viard, a long time collaborator of Chanel’s veteran creative chief Karl Lagerfeld, took on the design reigns at the luxury label after the German fashion star died in February at 85.

The brand has so far preserved many of the elements that have drawn fans and rich clients back over the years, including new twists every season on its famed tweed suits.

Tuesday’s collection - part of Paris’ Haute Couture week, a presentation of one-of-a-kind outfits considered the height of fashion prowess - featured elaborate takes on the Chanel classic, including a mauve trouser suit with wide legs.

Model Kaia Gerber showed off a bright pink, skirted version with feathery, white shoulders, while others wore off-the-shoulder, long gowns in tweed.

Lagerfeld was also known for over-the-top catwalk sets, and Viard’s show plunged spectators deep into the inner sanctum of a spectacular, circular library.

In keeping with the theme, several models wore glasses, and prim looks dominated the runway, with high, Edwardian-style collars or dresses reminiscent of early 20th century ladies riding outfits.

Chanel, also known for no5 perfume, is privately-owned by the Wertheimer family. It is the second biggest luxury brand in the world after LVMH’s Louis Vuitton, with annual sales up 13 percent last year to $11.1 billion - making its bet on Viard to take its designs forward a high stakes one.

Chief Financial Officer Philippe Blondiaux told Reuters in June that Viard was there for the long term.

He denied that Chanel had had any discussions with former Celine designer Phoebe Philo, rumored in industry circles as another possible successor to Lagerfeld.
 
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