Chanel is a brand that has seemed particularly obsessed with its history of late, with countless collections pinned to Coco Chanel and some experience or other that she had — a problem, given that declassified documents from 2011 confirmed Coco Chanel was a Nazi, and far from a dreamy aspiration. So it was nice that Coco’s name wasn’t invoked as the inspiration for this one — and good for Chanel, I think, to look forward more than back. Here’s what Virginie Viard told Vogue about this year’s show, which scaled down considerably and took place in a tight little warren of a nightclub, Chez Castel:

“I love Castel because it’s like a house and very English,” said Viard who was amused by the idea of the Chanel girls coming down the club’s famously narrow stairs in their giant après-ski coats and then leaving them in the coatroom to reveal the skimpy little chiffon numbers underneath. Even Viard’s shaggy Moon Boots turn out to be double layered so that the voluminous shearling can be removed to reveal a sleeker boot beneath.

Viard played with the marriage of sturdy tweed and fragile chiffon throughout the collection, inspired, as she explained, by the legendary style of the late Stella Tennant, a Chanel icon for so many years, and a woman who embodied the chic of a certain school of aristocratic negligence as she shrugged a hefty tweed coat, built for the Scottish moors, over a delicate evening dress.

Some of these are more bundled-up than this seems to suggest — I don’t have a ton of styling suggestions, because so much of it seems aimed at practicality (inasmuch as full-body Chanel is practical for anyone) rather than red carpets — but, nostalgia for a longtime, late muse like Stella Tennant is the kind of looking back-while-forward, or forward-while-back, that I think is poignant. RIP, Stella.

[Photos: Imaxtree]