January 21, 2020 / 3:03 PM / a month ago

Chanel walks models through a tranquil cloister garden in Paris

Gerard Wertheimer, co-owner of fashion house Chanel, arrives to attend Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 collection show in Paris, France, January 21, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Chanel on Tuesday transported guests from the bling of fashion week to a herb-filled cloister garden where models showed off demure looks in black, white and grey in a nod to founder Coco Chanel’s early years in a nunnery.

The designer, who started her clothing label in 1910, spent several years at the Aubazine abbey in the south-west of France as a teenager after her mother died. She learned to sew at Aubazine, which was run by nuns as an orphanage.

The nuns’ black and white habits - two recurring colours in Chanel’s repertoire and present in the looks on the runway at Paris’ Grand Palais exhibition hall on Tuesday - are said to have inspired the young designer.

The French label is one of the big names presenting one-of-a-kind creations as part of Haute Couture Week in Paris.

Chanel’s current creative chief Virginie Viard, who succeeded Karl Lagerfeld after his death last year, paraded a series of buttoned-up looks in sync with the decor as models wound their way around a fountain in the aromatic garden.

Some styles in the Spring-Summer 2020 collection echoed schoolgirl uniforms, including patent leather black shoes worn with little white ankle socks.

Model Gigi Hadid showed off an especially austere black outfit with a white collar.

G-Dragon, leader of the South-Korean Big Bang boy band, French actress Eva Green and U.S. singer Pharrell Williams were among celebrity guests attending the show.

Gerard and Alain Wertheimer, the elusive co-owners of Chanel, also attended.

Reporting by Noemie Olive and Charles Platiau; Writing by Matthieu Protard; Editing by Sarah White and Alexandra Hudson

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