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VIRGINIE VIARD’S SECRET WAS A SECRET GARDEN WEDDING: Chanel’s Spring-Summer 2021 Haute Couture Show
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Chanel
30.01.2021
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
Chanel's spring-summer 2021 haute couture images were lensed by famed director Anton Corbijn
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There’s a new type of courtship at Chanel and it’s one that you can’t help but to fall in love with. Sure, one can pinpoint to the pandemic as a reason its runway show sets haven’t seen a space rocket, a cruise ship or an upsized lion as a bombastic centrepiece like in previous years but it’s also through this pared-down, intimate approach that Virginie Viard is able to showcase elements of the storied fashion house that were often overshadowed by the lavish visuals on display. This spring-summer 2021 haute couture show held at the Grand Palais became another moment in which Viard stakes her claim on familiarity and warmth which by current day standards is an approach that is getting rarer even as fashion shows become a more personal viewing experience. Attended only by a small group of Chanel ambassadors no thanks to the country’s on-going curfew (an upgrade from the last show in which Kristen Stewart was the only front row guest), Chanel planned this intimate gathering in a makeshift garden that dropped wedding hints right from the get-go. A remix of bell chimes and The Ronettes’ Be My Baby echoed in the glass dome of the Grand Palais as the camera angle panned from a back view of models approaching a flight of stairs, a scene filmed in nostalgic black-and-white. It was a reminder of a perfect rom-com moment, a welcomed cliché, when a boy first develops genuine romantic feelings for the bestie who is descending a flight of stairs – although in this case, 31 A-list models. Looking longingly at the flower-crowned models were a socially distanced front row, featuring the likes of Marion Cotillard, Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, and Penélope Cruz, each holding a stalk of white camellia, Gabrielle Chanel’s fave bloom. The runway was what you would expect of a garden wedding: flower petals strewn on the flooring, flower arches aplenty, and strings of lights hanging off natural wooden poles. Yes, this was Chanel delivering realness in real-time. As soon as the models lined-up to start their catwalk, the music picked up and colours were introduced on screen. Credit must be given to famed film director Anton Corbijn – who has an extensive portfolio in creating some the most mesmerising music videos and cover art for the likes Depeche Mode, U2, Nirvana, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers – for making Viard’s era of Chanel and even couture look current. Leading up to this runway show, Corbijn was also instrumental in setting the mood through black-and-white videos and images of the celebrity guests and models with results that even Lagerfeld would approve of. As for the 32 couture creations, Viard and her team haven’t made a misstep in design since taking over the wheel just under a couple of years ago. The Chanel formula is slowly being updated with Viard’s penchant for contrasts, flirting between the masculine and feminine silhouettes, and the romantic and liberated ideals of modern day dress codes. It would not even be farfetched of an idea to think that Viard designed this collection with Hepburn in mind: tiered pale pink dress, petticoats, shimmering vests and cardis, white floral gowns, and flirty sheer black dresses. Even the two-tone Mary-Jane shoes would be considered by Hepburn as comfortable. Viard saved the best for last. As the models took their respective seat in the front row, which clued us in they were all just guests too, a model on a white horse emerged from the tent. The bride. Viard modelled the ecru satin crêpe long dress to be fashion off a 1920s photo. What was mesmerising were the strass and pearl butterflies, a motif that doesn’t appear too often in the Chanel catalogue. Viard summarised this collection as the result of what she thinks women want to have in their wardrobes today. And the answer might be as easy as love.

www.chanel.com

 

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