“Mine was a world of rooftops and love songs,” wrote Roman Payne in his novel Rooftop Soliloquy. His words are the perfect summation of the vibe at Chanel for Spring, where the rooftops of Paris were recreated under the soaring vaulted glass ceiling of the Grand Palais. And what is a Chanel show, after all, but a lettre d’amour to the house codes?
If Chanel’s Spring 2019 show set was all about “surf and turf” (incredibly, a beach with an artificial tide was created), Viard turned her focus to a different element—air—for this season.
Not only was the silhouette breezily abbreviated, the designer worked transparencies in throughout. Model Rebecca Leigh Longendyke wore sheer breeches under a meringue-like skirt, and there was an assortment of romantic see-through blouses—Kaia Gerber wore a fetching off-the-shoulder number—and skirts made of layers of the finest silk chiffon might have flown away had they not been paired with more down-to-earth logo’d knit tops.
Back to those rooftops: They inspired several prints as well as the set. One was a sketch in black and white on a black background. More abstract was a logo print in shades of blue. A third, featuring lit dormer windows, called to mind a quote from Coco Chanel, who said: “I’ve always lived in attics or palaces.”
Topping most of the looks were hats; Coco Chanel began her career as a milliner. Viard’s were brimmed, and some were festooned with red camellias.
Another reference to the house founder was in the models’ hand-in-pockets posture. One of Chanel’s innovations was to add pockets to her designs. As an active, working woman, she well knew the value of their functionality. (She had not yet invented the quilted bag that would come to be known as the 2.55.)
Speaking of which: The house’s iconic quilted bag was reimagined in many covetable ways for Spring. Très, très mignon was the petite version carried by Gigi Hadid. There was a cylindrical wristlet with a cursive logo; another variant switched out the chain strap for a ruffled one. Cardi B (in Look 1 from the Fall 2019 collection) was carrying one of the new top-handle versions for Spring.
Cardi might have opted for trousers, but Viard is pushing shorts (worn with or without opaque tights) for Spring. Chanel was famously averse to knees—outside of active sports. She did design a pair for a sporting costume in the 1924 ballet Le Train Bleu, but it was really Karl Lagerfeld who introduced them to the house codes over the years, though most unforgettable are probably the bike shorts of Spring 1991. This season, Viard offers one-piece shorts suits in tweed, a knee-length model in denim, and jersey briefs.
While Viard didn’t make use of the lion (another house symbol that refers to Coco Chanel’s astrological sign, Leo), Gigi Hadid displayed the courage of a lioness when she confronted crasher Marie S’Infiltre, who staged her own rooftop-chase scene.
Viard’s not one to be messed with. She took her bow in an Undercover T-shirt that read “Sweet with poison,” paired with a camellia-embellished zip-up jacket, black jeans, and booties. The T-shirt featured a drawing of a cat. Was it a wink to Choupette, or the on-theme Aristocats? We’ll never know: A Frenchwoman never reveals her secrets.
Originally Appeared on Vogue