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A Chanel bride, a celebration and couture: Virginie Viard turns Haute Couture show into a family affair

Leave it to Virginie Viard to invite us all into an intimate Chanel family reunion...

If there’s anyone that could transport us into an intimate experience inside the Grand Palais, it’s Karl Lagerfeld. The historic exhibition space has once been transformed into Chanel’s very own Space Station, a Chalet Gardenia, a dock featuring the La Pausa boat and even, a Chanel airport. When Virginie Viard took over the reins, she too, continued the tradition of converting the Grand Palais into stunning show sets such as recreating her very own Hollywood or reimagining the rooftops of Paris. And for Spring/Summer ’21 Haute Couture, the female head did more than just create a show space but set the tone for a Chanel family affair.

With Paris in lockdown, Chanel’s latest show only included ambassadors as its audience such as Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Vanessa Paradis, Lily-Rose Depp, and Alma Jodorowsky, who sat well over six feet apart.

“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…” says Virginie Viard setting the tone for the Spring/Summer ’21 Haute Couture collection.

“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,” Virginie Viard continued. “I wanted to bring the models together for family photos, like those you can see in photo albums.”

The show, which was revealed in a captivating video directed by Dutch filmmaker and graphic designer Anton Corbijn, perfectly embodied the warmth of a traditional family gathering — something we’ve been longing for ever since the pandemic — and started with a small cortège descending the stairs of the Grand Palais before really showcasing the designer’s exceptional work.

There was a hopeful sense to the collection too, as it included plenty of free-flowing silhouettes and a pretty-in-pink colour palette.

Featuring 32 looks, we spotted ruffled boleros, a white daisy lace gown that came with a long removable skirt perfect for cutting loose on the dance floor, trouser suits with jackets inspired by men’s waistcoats, long coveted capes and shoes that included two-tone Mary-Jane pumps with double straps (inspired by shoes worn by tango dancers) and booties with wedge heels decorated with a fine golden quilt-like grid.

And with every finale at Chanel, a bride closed the show on a majestic white horse fronting an exquisite long dress in pearl grey tulle and embroidered macramé made by the Montex Atelier. The look came together with strass and pearl butterfly embroideries by Lesage.

Below, browse through Chanel’s Haute Couture Spring/Summer ’21 collection…

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Then, discover Dior’s very own fairy tale for Haute Couture Spring/Summer ’21 collection.