Designer Virginie Viard is no stranger to walking the runway at the end of a Chanel show—she did so earlier this year at the haute couture show in Paris—but this is the first time she punctuates it after presenting a collection she solely designed.
That alone makes the Chanel cruise 2019/2020 runway show one for the books. Not only is it Viard’s debut as the artistic director but also the first collection since the passing of the Karl Lagerfeld, who headed the house for over 30 years with Viard as his "right and left hand". There was a feeling of reverence at the Grand Palais—and Viard was understandably emotional as she walked down to applause and a standing ovation—but a quick look at the collection and one can already feel the winds of change.
Since Gabrielle Chanel founded the house, travel has been an integral part of the brand. This cruise show embraces the spirit of travel, specifically the bygone era of romantic train sojourns. The idea of using trains as a central theme was said to come from Lagerfeld, but how this was eventually realised was all down to Viard. The result was a somewhat pared-back set but still as impressive: They transformed the nave of Grand Palais into a Beaux-Arts style Parisian train station with benches able to accommodate 440 guests on the platform, all of whom were awaiting the next journey of the house to commence.