This season, the iconic French house of Chanel takes us on a journey through the world of ballet, where lightness, beauty and a touch of playful frivolity reign supreme.
From the moment the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2024 show opened with Margaret Qualley in a Pierrot-inspired chiffon gown, a nod to Gabrielle Chanel’s 1924 collaboration with the Ballets Russes, it was clear that dance would be the guiding thread. The collection unfolded in a palette of delicate pastels and crisp whites, with leggy silhouettes that evoked the effortless grace of ballerinas. Tiny tweed jackets, some mimicking open weave with intricate raffia embroidery, were paired with short skirts and frothy layers of tulle, creating a sense of playful juxtaposition.
And Virginie Viard masterfully blended the ethereal with the timeless, anchoring the collection in Chanel’s signature tweed. Micro-mini versions of the iconic suit, designed to move with you like a ballerina’s second skin, coexist with elegant evening gowns that dissolve into layers of vaporous fabric and feathers. It’s a testament to Viard’s ability to reinterpret tradition with a fresh, contemporary eye.
The set, designed by a collective that included Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free, was a giant button descending from the ceiling, symbolizing the collection’s central theme. Qualley, herself a classically trained ballerina, opened the show with a missing button on her jacket, a playful reference to the movie “The Button,” which served as the collection’s teaser.
Viard’s dance with transparency was another highlight. Sheer black baby dolls layered over barely-there pants and white leotards peeking through wispy chiffon skirts added a touch of sensuality to the overall ethereal aesthetic. Even the shoes, thick white tights and black sandals with a small heel, echoed the ballerina’s grace.
But the true stars of the show were the slender evening gowns, masterpieces of craftsmanship that dissolved into layers of vaporous fabric and feathers. These were creations fit for a modern swan queen, timeless pieces that transcended trends and whispered of generations to come.
Despite the economic headwinds facing the luxury sector, Chanel’s haute couture remains a haven of resilience and optimism. Bruno Pavlovsky, Fashion President at Chanel, sees these timeless garments as investments, pieces that can be passed down through families and become even more meaningful with age. “Chanel time is a little different,” he says. “Saying that things can improve over time is very relevant today, I think, and a haute couture product can age, but it doesn’t lose any of its symbolic power and impact.”