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Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Courtesy of Chanel.
Fashion

Chanel Hosts a Self-Assured FW21 Show at Castel

By Eliza Jordan

March 9, 2021

On an ordinary day, the streets of Paris host an onslaught of fashion fit for the stage. But today, there are added precautions surrounding the pandemic, so it’s rare to see an unmasked, smiling face, paired with a bounce in a step. But for Parisians, and those who embody the French art de vivre while in town, that doesn’t mean you can’t still dress très chic.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

This morning, for the Chanel Fall/Winter 2021 presentation, we luckily got both—a warm smile, a debonaire look. Through a black-and-white film directed by Inez & Vinoodh, we saw women pour into empty streets to the tune of Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) by Diana Ross. Joyful and self-assured, they appear from corners on Rue Princesse and Rue Guisarde before making their way to the show they were starring in. Romantic, brief snippets of their moments leading up to the fashion show—like entering an elevator, applying makeup, and getting dressed—sparkle like a lens flare.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

“I love contrasts, so for the more voluminous winter pieces, I wanted a small space. I don’t know if this is because of the times we live in, but I wanted something warm, lively,” said Virginie Viard. “I imagined the models doing a show for themselves, going from room to room, crossing each other in staircases, piling their coats up in the cloakroom, and going up to the next floor to get changed. And I thought of the shows that Karl would tell me about, back in the day, a long time ago, when the models would dress themselves and do their own makeup.”

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

At the iconic club Castel, models part a crystal curtain, snake down tight staircases, and take to the dark stage. To Free by SAULT, the start of the 56 looks trailed down the platform. The sensual show began with contrasts—from volumes and materials to spirit and energy.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

“I like Castel so much for its many salons, the spiral staircase, its bar, the journey through this venue, its little house style, where the models can get changed, dressed and undressed, do their make-up together, and have fun like a girls night in. It’s very sensual,” said Viard. “This collection is a mix of two influences: the ambiance of ski holidays, which I adore, and a certain idea of cool Parisian chic, from the 1970s to now.”

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

Pieces that embodied Viard’s dual direction came in the form of big pieces—like tweed coats  with chevron motifs and a trouser suit in black tweed with blue lurex checks—to dainty details and accessories. Quilted ski suits embroidered in fuchsia tweed were complemented by thin bracelets, layers of sautoir necklaces, and chained belts. Blouses in chiffon and crêpe de Chine are paired with sportswear pieces, and strappy sandals are embellished with chains and little black bows. Beanies, bags, and belts bear the “CC” monogram, as does denim as a print, while earrings flick toward the light and dazzle the screen.

“Today some of these silhouettes make me think of Stella Tennant’s allure, the way she wore certain pieces, it was so Chanel,” Viard added.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Chanel.

The show wrapped with three more songs from SAULT—first Free, then Wildfires and Fearless—with the models ready for reality again. After exiting Castel, they wait for Viard to join them, and they jaunt as a group down the street. In sequinned ballet flats, boots in black curly faux fur, and pumps adorned with the prized camellia, the women smiled, joined in cheer, and departed past the Bedford Arms bar around the corner. It was time to celebrate the great collection, but it also felt right to celebrate the season ahead for which it is for—Fall/Winter 2021, a season we have great hopes past the pandemic for.

ChanelFW21Virginie Viard

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