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IF YOU had begun to miss the sunnier months, Virginie Viard brought the holiday spirit to the Grand Palais with Chanel’s spring-summer 2024 collection. Turning our heads away from the cooler temperatures and autumnal-coloured leaves, the artistic director took inspiration from the gardens of Villa Noailles.

Hidden in the hills of Hyères, the modernist building, designed by Robert Mallet-Stevens in 1923, is surrounded by meticulously geometric gardens. Complete with sunken flowerbeds and cubist chequered floral arrangements, the retro exterior found itself front and centre of Viard’s mood boards for next season.

“[The] collection is an ode to liberty and to movement, and tells a story that has its origins in the gardens of the villa Noailles,” explains the designer. Echoing the same mood of the last month, the idea of quiet luxury has been emphasised through the idea of ease, comfort and wearable pieces.

So CC patterns with painted flowers became jumpsuits worn with cardigans, short skirts were seen with jumpers tied around the waist and flip-flops became the latest must-have – even dressing gowns made an appearance. This was a collection not only made to be worn, it was an array of items designed to be played in.

The joie de vivre was emphasised through a sports motif where beachwear took centre stage – think swimsuits, jackets in terrycloth and beach bags. “Sophistication and informality, the tweed throughout the collection, sportswear and lace: I tried to bring one thing and its opposite together in the coolest way possible. And the gardens and swimming pool of the villa Noailles, that exceptional setting, lend themselves rather well”.

Viard certainly injected a “laissez-faire” into Chanel for SS24, the striking combination of organza babydolls, bra tops, patchwork and loose-fitting suits was contemporary without being too modern and in-the-moment. With layering a big theme of this collection, it felt carefree and free from constraints – something unusual for the French brand.

Bringing her own interpretation of ‘quiet luxury’ to the table, Viard wasn’t shy of adding logos, honing in on the two-tone motif or hesitant of draping jewellery onto her models. It was quiet in the sense of being untouchable to most and colourful enough to be noticeable to many. It’s Chanel after all, it’s hard not to be noticed.

by Imogen Clark


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