August 3, 2021

Chanel Haute Couture: meditation on muses and museums

Translated by

Marguerite Capelle

Published on



Jul 6, 2021

Chanel’s new Haute Couture collection, presented Tuesday morning at the Palais Galliera under a cloudy sky, delivers a variation on museums and muses, a new approach in the world of fashion.

Chanel – Haute Couture – Fall-Winter 2021/22 – Photo: Chanel

The Galliera Museum, one of half a dozen great fashion museums on the planet, also happens to be a true architectural pearl, and an eternal tribute to its owner, the Duchess Galliera. Born into a noble family in Genoa, her marriage made her very wealthy and made her a philanthropist, woman of the world and renowned art collector.

Much of this Chanel collection represented a modernist tribute to the Duchess’s favorite works and to the Galliera’s fashion archives. The museum has more than 70,000 pieces, including clothes that belonged to Marie-Antoinette, the Empress Joséphine or Audrey Hepburn, in addition to complete collections of creations from the great French houses, such as Dior, Jacques Fath, Balmain, Givenchy, Poiret, Saint Laurent and of course Chanel.

The models entered through the imposing interior porch, with its immense freestone columns, before descending the main staircase, dressed in extremely elegant embroidered tweed suits, with modestly cut knee-length skirts, and very classy embroidered tops in metallic tones and paisley patterns. Virginie Viard, Chanel Creative Director, has also imagined superb long tulle skirts, and lovely frock coats with raised collar, in pink jacquard.

The designer also skilfully played on the brand’s DNA, revisiting Chanel’s iconic four-pocket jacket in a shiny tweed frock coat version, associated with an extended skirt, with pockets, and worn over a simple black bra. Daring, but absolutely not vulgar, here is another example of the rejuvenated spirit that Virginie Viard brought to Chanel.

Aristocratic and pointed hairstyles completed the ensemble (updos topped with punk chic macaroons), in a presentation that was not lacking in humor. It’s impossible not to love the empire-waist pink silk dress, especially worn like this with puffy panties that protruded from the hem.

Just as the architecture of the Galliera combines Renaissance style, Belle Époque lines and meta-construction techniques from the end of the 19th century, the collection combines different historical periods. The steel structure of the building was designed by the company of Gustave Eiffel, whose legendary tower is visible from the garden of the villa. Black ribbons came to recall this architecture on several looks.

“Muse, museum, fashion. We often sing about museums, not to mention muses enough. Perhaps because we rarely meet them. But when you are so lucky …”, wrote Virginie Viard, in a rather enigmatic way, in the parade program placed on the seat of each guest. The Galliera is currently hosting the successful exhibition Gabrielle Chanel, Fashion manifesto, dedicated to the beginnings of the legendary designer, from the first hat store she opened in Deauville before the First World War, to the invention of the little black dress during the Roaring Twenties, and the creation of the most famous in the world: Chanel n ° 5.

Chanel Haute Couture – Fall-Winter 2021/2022 – Chanel

Presented in the open air, in two parades each planned for 100 guests, the collection was also an impressive demonstration of rare craftsmanship and skills. The Paraffection branch of Chanel recently opened a major new center called 19M, on the northeastern edge of Paris, Porte de Pantin. The brand brings together (and in many ways preserves) a French heritage that is unique in the world: these specialized fashion workers, who create embroidery, pleated fabrics, feather decorations, luxury gloves, shoes or hats. . Like for example the dazzling white pleated top with petal shapes presented during this show, on a fabulous long skirt in marabout feathers, the height of arty elegance and class. Which of course is the very heart of Chanel DNA.

In short, Chanel offers us authentic Haute Couture, while the arrival of many young designers on the Parisian market has recently given rise to creations that are too experimental, sometimes lacking in grace and refinement.

Chanel – Haute Couture – Fall-Winter 2021/2022 – Photo: Chanel

See the perfectly cut wedding dress, the highlight of any Haute Couture collection. This time it was a coral silk dress of devilish simplicity, covering the shoulders, with a pink veil and a small top hat. The bride showed up for the finale and climbed the steps of the Galliera before throwing her bouquet over her shoulder. Where the lucky one who received it was none other than this dear Laura Brown, editor of the American version ofInStyle, all under the warmest ovation of all this Parisian season.

(FYI, the Australian writer got engaged to her longtime boyfriend in late 2019!)

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