After her graphic black-and-white Cruise 2022 collection, presented in May, Chanel creative director Virginie Viard held her Fall/Winter 2021 Haute Couture line at the Palais Galliera – the fashion museum is hosting currently a major retrospective on Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel – marking the brand’s first couture show with an audience in 18 months.
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Viard spoke of portraits of Gabrielle Chanel dressed up in black or white 1880s-style dresses but also two women artists, the acclaimed Impressionist Berthe Morisot, sister-in-law of Manet, and the Cubist Marie Laurencin, a key figure in the cultural landscape of Jazz Age Paris, whose delicately colored works include a portrait of the young Coco Chanel herself as for her inspirations.
Dresses covered in delicately appliqued flowers mirror the colour palette of Monet’s watercolours, jackets blossom with English garden flowers, and whispy feather details evoke brush strokes. She also played with textures, dabbing paintbrush-stroke sequins on a top, or pairing an ample tweed coat covered in pointillist metallic embroidery with a pink distressed tulle skirt.
Viard’s Fall/Winter 2021 Haute Couture collection embraced the fantasy of color. “Because I love seeing color in the greyness of winter”, said Viard. “I really wanted a particularly colorful collection that was very embroidered, something warm”.
“There are dresses embroidered with water lilies, a jacket in a black tweed crafted from feathers with red and pink flowers”, she added. “I was also thinking about English gardens. I like to mix a touch of England with a very French style. It’s like blending the masculine and the feminine, which is what I’ve done with this collection too. That twist is very much a part of who I am”.
Of course, a couture collection is always a celebration of the work of the maison’s artisans. The collection was brought to life by the skilled hands of the renowned Parisian embroidery houses, including Atelier Emmanuelle Vernoux, Atelier Montex, Lesage, and Cécile Henri. Their work included for example a remarkable gardenia-embellished cropped jacket by Lesage, which took 2000 hours to create by hand.
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