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Chanel looks to wedding parties for spring haute couture

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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For spring/summer 2021 haute couture, Chanel’s Virginie Viard was inspired by wedding parties and the spirit of family.

Explaining her vision for the collection, Chanel’s creative director Viard said in the show notes: "I knew we couldn't organise a big show, that we would have to invent something else, so I came up with the idea of a small cortege that would come down the stairs of the Grand Palais and pass beneath arches of flowers. Like a family celebration, a wedding.

"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 family."

Chanel’s grand wedding party took place in Grand Palais in Paris with a circular catwalk featuring flowered arches, festoon lighting, petals scattered everywhere, and a giant marquee.

While other fashion houses have showcased their couture collections with no audiences, Chanel decided to unveil theirs in front of a select few brand ambassadors like Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Vanessa Paradis and her daughter, Lily-Rose Depp. All were socially-distanced around the catwalk sat on gilded chairs on wooden floorboards.

Chanel decided to bring a fun, upbeat energy to a coronavirus hit couture week with a party atmosphere from the start, sending the models all down at once down the curved stairs of the grand building, before highlighting each individual look.

Chanel threw a wedding party for spring/summer 2021 couture show

Regarding the clothes, Viard said: “I'm always thinking about what women would like to have in their wardrobe today,” and that it seems is ruffled petticoat skirts, black tweed dresses, tulle gowns, feather embellishments, demure white blouses, lace made of daisies, trouser suits and jackets inspired by men's waistcoats.

All of which were sent down the catwalk with two-tone Mary-Jane shoes with a double strap in the style of the shoes worn by tango dancers, or booties with wedge heels decorated with a fine golden quilt-like grid.

Each piece from the collection was inspired by the idea of dance, of freedom and of summer evening parties, which we all will be back this year.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Chanel haute couture collection without the bride finale, which this season came out on horseback. The bride looked like she had stepped out of a 1920s photo, with a long gown and train made from ecru satin crêpe, embroidered by Lesage with strass and pearl butterflies, with a wing collar, shirt cuffs and covered buttons. Beautifully worn with a crystal-embellished long veil that sparkled in the light and white cowboy boots.

Chanel also highlighted its collaborations with its Maisons d'Art craft workshops for the 32-piece collection, explaining that the Montex Atelier made the embroidered macramé of a long dress in pearl grey tulle while delicate feathers by the House of Lemarié embellish the organza flounces of a little dress in black tweed.

While the collection might have been lighthearted and elegant with a distinct vision, there was still one glaring thing - there was no diversity on display. Once again, Chanel opted to cast all-white models for a collection all about family.

Images: courtesy of Chanel by Anton Corbijn

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