It's now been a full year since Karl Lagerfeld's last collection for Chanel, when models paid an emotional tribute in a winter wonderland inside the Grand Palais. And while Virginie Viard has designed many collections since then (such is the nature of the prolific French house), gradually taking her own approach along the way, the legacy of her predecessor still looms large—so large that it seems the industry views all collections in the context of his work. So what better way to deal with this situation than to work Lagerfeld in as a source of inspiration, just like what has happened with founder Coco Chanel?
While Chanel Fall 2020 does not revolve around a Lagerfeld tribute, it does contemplate a photo of the late designer wearing a striped suit with riding boots, in addition to other inspirations like Coco's racehorse Romantica and the Chabrol film Les Biches. The result is a chic and sophisticated wardrobe for the horse girl, and all others who take inspiration from equestrianism and New Wave women. Everyone wore riding boots, which stopped just below the knee and featured a brown fold over a slouchy black design. And while much of the inspiration came from the equestrian lifestyle, from hair to hats to easygoing tailored pieces resembling staples for the sport, the wearable pieces could fit into the lifestyles of any woman on the go.
Mostly black-and-white and featuring plenty of the house's signature tweed, the collection also used pops of pink and pale green, flowing silhouettes, and fun textures like ruffles and fringe to further Viard's modern, je ne sais quoi-filled take on Chanel while paying tribute to the season's active sources of inspiration. In a comparatively simple set inside the Grand Palais, where audience members watched the collection amidst a series of white steps, the craft of the clothing really had a chance to shine, as did major model moments, like when Gigi Hadid walked arm-in-arm with fellow models HyunJi Shin and Mona Tougaard at the end of the show. It seems Viard has really come into her own for Chanel Fall 2020, and though her vision may be minimalist in comparison with Lagerfeld's spectacular concepts, it's well-thought-out to provide expert inspiration for the modern woman's lifestyle while making use of house codes along the way.