Paris — Chanel took guests, including Venus Williams, on a journey of discovery inside the Grand Palais Ephemere Tuesday to the landscapes and colors of the Scottish countryside. On the final day of Paris Fashion Week, the runway saw an ode to tweed — an exploration of the history and allure of the fabric now synonymous with the Parisian stalwart.
Gleaming styles evoked the colors of the actual River Tweed that flows east across the Border region in Scotland and northern England, a river that gave the storied fabric its name and that inspired house founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
Check out the highlights from Tuesday’s shows:
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Chanel’s journey to the borders
“We followed the footsteps of Gabrielle Chanel along the River Tweed, to imagine tweeds in the colors of this landscape,” said Virginie Viard of the collection. Thus the designer, who replaced Karl Lagerfeld following his death in 2019, continued her creative journey through the life and inspirations of the house founder. In previous seasons, that has included a collection dedicated to the orphanage at which Chanel grew up.
On Tuesday, it was a chapter tracing the later years of the fashion icon, when she lived and stayed in Scotland, and “would gather ferns and bouquets of flowers to inspire the local artisans for the tones she wanted.”
Signature house skirt suits and wrapped-up woolen styles came in muted tones of pinks, burgundies, blues and purples. They were dappled, like the hues in nature, thanks to the unique weave of the textured and irregular fabric weft. Guests sat on tweed-upholstered seats, clutching invites made of matching pink material.
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The show was also a history lesson: Chanel lived in Scotland when she was the mistress of the Duke of Westminster in the 1920s, and she would wear his jackets. Cut to the menswear elements — flat boxy jackets with loose proportions and large retro pockets.
But for all its storytelling, this saleable collection lacked a vibrancy. Somehow it did not seem daring enough in terms of silhouette, which played it safe. It also lacked Lagerfeld’s tongue-in-cheek attitude — despite an attempt by the designer that felt false with flourishes, such as chained hip flasks or sheeny logo-emblazoned black wellies. Perhaps the tongue-in-cheek couturier, for whom humor came naturally, put the bar too high, or maybe Viard simply does not want to rock the boat.
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The origin of tweed
Experts say that fabric tweed, the less flashy cousin of tartan, actually got its name by accident in the 19th century, when a London merchant misread the name wool “tweel” (the Scottish name for “twill,” a textile weave) and confused it with the River Tweed in Scotland.
Thus the river did lend its name to the fabric — in 1826 in Hawick — but it was only by mistake.
The material originated in Scotland and Ireland, and — in a far cry from the haute Paris runway — was worn commonly by farmers.
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The return of the Miu Miu micro mini
Miuccia Prada’s quirkier little sister — Miu Miu — was in a typical mood of contrasts this season, revved up with accessories to create a visual kinesis in a rare co-ed show.
Belts, long ’70s neck scarves, socks, straps, badges, and stripes — all in multitudinous color — gave styles a haphazard feel. In other unexpected moments, a flying jacket, normally fashioned in tan leather, came in python. And a preppy vibe — in patent leather shoes, knee high woolen socks — contrasted with “grown up” looks, including a fine menswear gray coat.
But the star of the show was surely the Miu Miu micro mini. It also appeared last season and has since become a viral hit gracing red carpets everywhere. This truncated mini — with its dramatically dropped waist — appeared on several of Tuesday’s looks featuring a frayed deconstructed hem. Sometimes it resembled a tennis skirt, other times a take on a Gladiator’s costume. But always it was fabulous.
This style cross-pollinated up the body to truncated tops in a clever fashion moment, typical of the Italian billionaire and fashion icon.
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Enfants Riches Deprimes
An air of languishing bourgeoisie emanated from Enfants Riches Deprimes — French for “Depressed Rich Children” — overseen by house founder Henri Alexander Levy.
The point of the brand — famed for its $1,000 T-shirts and jackets as high as $95,000 — is elitism and a postmodern comment on the nature of money itself.
So Tuesday was, by the standards of the house founder, who has also courted controversy by selling a $7,000 cashmere noose, a tame collection.
On-trend V-shapes figured on a black gown with white shirt, next to a minimalist long black coat with no lapel. Striped loose silken pajamas evoking a rich kid who can’t be bothered getting a job cut a great style and revealed great humor alongside kinky rubber-style elbow length gloves that looked ready for bed — or the dishes.
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