The Palais Galliera, located in Paris 16e arrondissement, is the first permanent exhibition devoted to the history of fashion in Paris. Their archives are extensive, including corsages that belonged to Marie-Antoinette and pieces dating from the 18e century, while their facade and interiors have recently been painstakingly restored to their former glory by the house of Chanel. A retrospective dedicated to Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel’s contribution to Parisian history—Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion manifesto– is presented there until July 18e.
It is therefore no surprise that Virginie Viard chose the Palais to present her latest haute couture offer for the house of Chanel. The Fall / Winter 2021-2022 collection was unveiled in Paris this afternoon to a handful of guests wearing masks, and broadcast live worldwide in a film produced in partnership with Sofia and Roman Coppola (the first to joins Caroline de Maigret, Carole Bouquet and Daisy Edgar-Jones in the front row).
For a collection that will be unveiled within the walls of a vast palace lined with works of art, Viard has chosen to draw inspiration from iconic French painters. Bethe Morisot, impressionist painter and sister-in-law of Édouard Manet, and cubist Marie Larencin, contemporary of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Mademoiselle Chanel herself, are the two artists she cited while citing the references. The dresses covered with delicately applied flowers reflect the color palette of Monet’s watercolors (and evoke the feeling of being in the so-called “Monet room” at the Musée de l’Orangerie), the jackets bloom with the flowers of the English garden and wispy feather details evoke brushstrokes.
Of course, a couture collection is always a celebration of the work of the house’s artisans, and Chanel has long been a partner of some of Paris’ most esteemed artisans. Their work, including Lesage and Atelier Montex embroidery, Lemarie’s flowers, and Maison Michel headgear, featured prominently, including a remarkable short jacket adorned with gardenia, which took 2,000 hours. to create by hand.
Chanel’s haute couture collections always culminate with a bridal look modeled by a muse of the house, a tradition dating back to the late Chanel creative director, Karl Lagerfeld. Recent “Chanel wives” have included models Adut Akech and Kendall Jenner, house muse Lily-Rose Depp and future French model Lola Nicon. Today, brand ambassador and Once upon a time … in Hollywood Actress Margaret Qualley received the honor, wearing a minimalist high-necked pale pink satin gown and veil, closing the show with a round of applause.
For the brand’s first in-person show in over a year, the collection presented an uplifting and optimistic take on the Chanel woman as she embarks on a post-pandemic world. Wrapped in luxurious tweed and sporting a rock n ‘roll braided mohawk, the future is hers.