Complete with wooden hoops adorned with flower garlands, pearly strings, and a petal-strewn marble floor, the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2021 presentation completely overtook the historic Grand Palais and turned it into a wedding, inviting the audience to a vision of homemade love. In the audience sat a stunning array of socially distanced Chanel ambassadors: actress/model Lily-Rose Depp, actress Penelope Cruz, actress/singer/model Vanessa Paradis, actress Marion Cotillard, and member of the Monaco royal family, Charlotte Casiraghi.
The beautiful array of garments fluttered down the runway. The tones for this season include neutrals with bright pops of pale pinks, bright reds, and springy details. The first look to walk down the runway seems to encapsulate the freedom of the collection: a long magenta red skirt with petals running down it, paired with a tailored white lace blouse with little magenta spots on the sleeves, and a matching magenta flower crown. Honorable mentions go to the black slip dress with golden caging around the ensemble, the magenta blouse that features overlapping petal details, and the black chiffon dress that walked second to last in the presentation that absolutely took my breath away — it seemed to walk out of some sort of abstract painting, falling perfectly on the model like brush stroked on a well-work canvas.
The crowning moment of any Chanel Haute Couture show is the grand finale bridal gown. The tradition was started by Karl Lagerfeld in the ’90s, with his supermodel muse Claudia Schiffer. Since then, it’s become a staple: the likes of Kendall Jenner and Devon Aoki have held the coveted title of “Chanel Bride,” in dresses ranging from simple Catholic-inspired shifts to avant garde displays of lacy cages. This year, creative director Virginie Viard opted out of using a model with name recognition and chose instead to deliver the shock value of the finale moment by having the bride not walk down the runway but ride on horseback. The horse was pristine white, accompanied by the handler. The dress itself is a long ivory coat-like dress, embroidered with large opaque butterflies. The garment features pearly buttons from the top to the bottom and a stunning bow-turned-shimmering veil.
Depp, who was hand-picked by Lagerfeld to walk as the Chanel bride for the Spring 2017 Haute Couture collection, felt wistful after seeing the new collection all together. At a roundtable with the audience after the show, hosted by fellow Chanel brand ambassador Caroline de Maigret, she commented: “It is so emotional, and I think something that is unanimous that I’m hearing around this table is how you feel when you’re wearing these garments, and not only how beautiful they look, but how they make you feel when you’re wearing them. The bridal dress was absolutely beautiful.”
Encapsulating the refreshing spring tones of a time that will *hopefully* be for rejoicing amongst ourselves and be able to go back to our normal states of being, the Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2021 collection shows the continuation of Viard’s new youthful, yet traditional spirit for the fashion house.