Lily-Rose Depp, Keira Knightley Board the Chanel Express for Resort 2020 Show

Keira Knightley-Getty-H 2019
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The storied fashion house showed its first resort collection post Karl Lagerfeld with new faces Claudia Schiffer and Ali MacGraw in the front row.

It was all aboard the Chanel Express, a travel theme apropos for the brand's latest resort 2020 collection. (That is if one could get past the throngs of fans waiting for Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, who hit up the early morning show after his concert last night in Paris.) The house turned the Grand Palais into a lavish train car reminiscent of the Orient Express, complete with cozy carriages, CC logo carpet, wood-paneled walls and white-linen breakfast service.

While other brands have jetted off to far-flung locations for more lavish bashes, Chanel has stayed anchored in Paris for the last two years, this time focusing on dream destinations of days past and cities once only reachable by romantic railways — Antibes, Saint-Tropez, Venice, Rome — for the final collection with Karl Lagerfeld's golden touch. (The late designer came up with the concept before his death in February.)

It was newly coronated creative designer Virginie Viard's first solo outing, which Hollywood legend Ali MacGraw called “courageous” as she tries to follow in Lagerfeld's footsteps. The 80-year-old actress reflected on returning as the face of the house after 54 years. “It was an absolute shock to be asked to join the house,” she said. MacGraw was the face of Chanel No. 5 back in 1965, and stars in the new campaign for the J12 watch alongside Keira Knightley and Lily-Rose Depp.

Much has changed since then, she said, dressed in crisp white jeans and a classic Chanel black boucle jacket. “I never had a real Chanel, for heaven's sake! I was a little girl, just 19 years old,” she joked. But the Oscar nominee is “honored” be back in the fold and feels that it's about time for more age-diverse models.

“If we're told by the cover of a big fashion magazine that we should look like the latest 19-year-old star, most of us would look ridiculous trying to imitate a certain look at a certain age. There's all shapes and ages and sizes, and all of us want to feel as good as we can, so if there's a representative that you can look to, it's really good.”

Viard, who spent years at Lagerfeld's side bringing his sketches and ideas to life, showed plenty of signature house boucle and tweed, with embroidered or sequined tops. While in the summer spirit, the large bow-tie tops covering just the important bits are likely for the bravest beach babes, but topped with logoed bathrobes they added a touch of luxury louche.

Trench coats had a relaxed vibe — we are on vacation after all — with a voluminous shape. The collection switched from utility, with pastel leaf-printed denim and white workmen-inspired suits, to white lace sheath dresses for evening, all topped with gothy black lip prints.

The soft, ultra-large quilted bags in bright colors are sure to be a summer staple.

The last look (a black velvet column dress topped with a high white collar) was a bit of a send-off, a final salute to Lagerfeld's signature style.

With this collection, Viard seemed to say that she's not going to rock the boat, at least not yet anyway. But the travel theme raises the question of where she will ultimately take the house.