A Tribute to Deauville and Chanel's Millinery Past | Savoir Flair
Paris Fashion Week
A Tribute to Deauville and Chanel's Millinery Past
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by Grace Gordon 3-minute read March 6, 2024

Chanel's trip down memory lane resulted in one of Virginie Viard's strongest collections yet.

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For Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, it all began with hats. In 1910, she established a millinery on 21 Rue Cambon in Paris called Chanel Modes, and after that, she set her sights on establishing a ready-to-wear shop in Deauville. Although there is much lore around Coco Chanel and her myriad origin stories, this is the origin of Chanel-as-a-brand; the early days, the days that would shape her into a fashion legend of mythical proportions. And so it began at Chanel Fall/Winter 2024, with a hat and with Deauville.

The show space recreated the Deauville boardwalk as screens displayed a digital rendering of the seaside, which bloomed with light from dawn to dusk. This long walk on the beach saw Creative Director Virginie Viard return to a more classic sense of styling, chic with a hint of clashing textures. It served the collection well, allowing the lovely kimono-sleeved watercolor tweed separates and perfectly cut outerwear to really shine. Dreamy pastel tweeds, topped with great chapeaus, soon gave way to darker leathers, excellent shearling-lined outerwear, and elegant embellished looks topped with chiffon capes. 

Over the years, Deauville became the playground of the creative class and has since forged a strong relationship with the film world thanks to its American Film Festival. This came through in the collection with subtle 35mm film and cinema ticket prints. It can often be difficult to evoke a destination as a character, but Viard achieved it effortlessly by morphing some of Deauville’s famous guests as muses for the looks – David Bowie came through in the androgynous silhouettes of Viard’s three-piece looks, and Anouk Aimée inspired its gamine accessories. 

“It’s a very warm collection,” Viard noted, “with layers of materials, colors, and volumes. It pays tribute to Deauville, the legendary place where Gabrielle Chanel’s destiny changed forever.” Tempered by influence and muses from the past, the collection felt like a return to some of Chanel’s more timeless silhouettes. Imbued with romanticism – a theme supported by the excellent short film starring Brad Pitt and Penelope Cruz and shot by Inez & Vinoodh for the collection – there was a tenderness to the presentation that we haven’t felt from the house in a while. 

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Tempered by INFLUENCE and MUSES from the past, the collection felt like a return to some of Chanel’s more timeless silhouettes

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