‘’I knew we couldn’t organize a big show, that we would have to invent something else, so I came up with the idea of a small cortège [procession] that would come down the stairs of the Grand Palais and pass beneath arches of flowers’’, said Chanel designer Virginie Viard of her Spring/Summer 2021 Haute Couture collection.
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The runway was unveiled in front of a select few brand ambassadors, like Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Vanessa Paradis and her daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, all spread out safely across the set of floral arches and wooden chairs.
Dressed in all the intricate handcrafts of Chanel maisons d’art partners including feathers, camellias, embroidery, and lace, the models walked en masse down the Great Staircase of the soaring glass-and-steel building, like a group of guests emerging from a wedding ceremony.
I love big family reunions, when the generations all come together. It’s so warm. There’s this spirit at Chanel today. Because Chanel is also like a familyVirginie Viard
The collection was packed with that ‘80s-tinged punch Viard has been playing with for several seasons now. Pieces like a silk button-down with a large tulle skirt had an ease and sophistication to them, balancing out the otherwise girly aesthetic. Waists were cut low, conveniently allowing models to walk with their hands in their pockets. Fabrics were as light as confectioner’s sugar. Shoes included two-tone tango pumps with double straps and delicate gold booties featuring practical wedge heels. The bride, who closed the show on a majestic white horse, wore a long dress and train in ecru satin crêpe, embroidered by Lesage with strass and pearl butterflies.
Acclaimed photographer, filmmaker, and graphic designer Anton Corbijn, known for his work with bands like U2 and Depeche Mode, filmed the collection video and also shot a Chanel atmospheric black-and-white portraits featuring the show attendees and models, all dressed in Chanel couture looks from past seasons. The portraits were taken in Chanel’s recently renovated couture salon on Rue Cambon, which are newly redecorated in the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel by the Parisian interior designer Jacques Grange.
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