There was a Chanel family photo album and a bride, of course.
Leave it to Chanel creative director Virginie Viard to make a show at the Grand Palais feel intimate. The Beaux-Arts exhibition hall with a soaring glass barrel-vaulted roof that serves as the maison’s traditional Paris show space has played host to mythic show sets from an Air Chanel plane to a Brobdingnagian bouclé jacket. In normal times, the venue can seat hundreds of guests, but with Paris on lockdown, there were only a select few present for the filming of Chanel’s spring 2021 couture show video including Chanel ambassadors Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, and Alma Jodorowsky, who sat well over six feet apart.
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 and underneath arches decorated with fresh flowers. “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 cortege,” Viard explained in the show notes. “Like a family celebration, a wedding,”
Indeed, there was a hopeful sense of timeless clothes made for celebrating in the future post-vaccine world about the collection, which included a pale-pink dress featuring tiers of flounced crêpe georgette and a matching ruffled bolero, as well as a white daisy lace gown with a removable skirt perfect for cutting loose on the dance floor. 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 filmed the collection video and also shot a Chanel family portrait album featuring the show attendees and models, all dressed in Chanel couture looks from past seasons. The portraits were taken in the maison’s famous couture salons at 31 rue Cambon, which are newly redecorated in the spirit of Gabrielle Chanel by the Parisian interior designer Jacques Grange, who preserved the landmark mirrored staircase and incorporated Coromandel screens and gilded wheatsheaf tables by Goossens.
“I love big family reunions, when the generations all come together,” continued Viard. “It’s so warm. There’s this spirit at Chanel today. Because Chanel is also like a family.”