Grace Kelly’s granddaughter appears riding for Chanel

PARIS — Huge spinning wheels, “floating” blocks of wood and suspended geometric shapes hovered over a surreal mini-golf course on Tuesday during Chanel’s remarkable couture show.

Even Pharrell Williams, no stranger to elaborate sets, had to take a moment to take stock, before posing next to a three-meter white tire.

This sublime and avant-garde decor is the work of Xavier Veilhan and marks the first time in its history that Chanel has entrusted the staging to a contemporary artist.

The equestrian photos handed out to guests as they entered were a hint of what was to come. But no one really expected Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Caroline of Monaco and granddaughter of Princess Grace Kelly, to appear out of nowhere on top of a real racehorse.

Here are some highlights from the second day of the Spring Summer 2022 couture shows in Paris.

CHANEL SEE A CLEAN SPRING AESTHETIC

The beautiful beast and her VIP rider, in a sequined black Chanel tweed jacket of course, started the show in a symphony of gasps and hoof-clapping around the auditorium of the Grand Palais Éphémère as celebrities took photos .

The horse seemed to enjoy its 15 minutes of fame, trotting with ease, meandering through the constructivist installations of the 1920s and 30s and through sand and imitation grass, before galloping around the plateau.

Virginie Viard, Chanel’s designer, said the artistic backdrop was not just decoration, but the creative starting block for the collection.

“These geometric shapes made me want contrasts, a great lightness and a lot of freshness: aerial dresses that float as if in suspension”, she says.

So Chanel produced a relatively clean aesthetic for spring with matching tweeds, minimalist touches, crisp curved peplums and lots of white. A leg slit over heavy three-quarter skirts was the big theme this season, creating a silhouette with plenty of swag as the models walked.

A pink tweed jacket with white stripes had lovely loose proportions, which perfectly captured the spirit of understated femininity. It was the best part of the show. Yet the collection of 47 looks sometimes seems to be a victim of its own restraint, seeming to lack dynamism.

THE FLOWERS AND INSECTS OF ALEXIS MABILLE

A single butterfly earring. It was the most delicate of leitmotifs for the famous French designer, who took the shapes and textures of butterfly wings and flower petals to produce a display infused with organic materials.

The silhouettes were truncated or fanned out top and bottom in silk swooshes that resembled a flower opening. Or was it a butterfly emerging from the cocoon?

Either way, an organic feel permeated the 26 haute couture designs.

A train of white silk floated majestically from the bottom of a sheer bustier corset that featured embroidered lines resembling veins. Elsewhere, pleated silk hung beautifully from a pink halter-neck dress, evoking the delicate rustle of wings.

A black lace hood hung over a model’s head as if in mourning. She may even have been a Black Widow spider.

THE GLAMOR OF ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

The French couturier known for his unapologetic glamor was back this season, producing a collection that was overflowing with shimmer, glitter, feathers and even a leopard flash.

The vibe was very late 80s. A wide-shouldered white tuxedo above an exposed chest led into a dazzling silver dress that covered the model from head to toe in sequins.

This season, Alexandre Vauthier has also brought out the sensuality.

The fabric of a loose Chinese white satin dress rippled over the model’s body as if blown by the breeze – an effect carefully mirrored by her tousled, windswept hair.

The 50-year-old designer has expressed his desire to create fashions that celebrate life and going out – especially amid the constraints of persistent lockdowns. At this show, fashion was ready for disco.

VAN DER KEMP IS SUSTAINABLE

It’s no secret that Ronald van der Kemp, the self-proclaimed “first sustainable couture label”, wants to spearhead a revolution.

The Dutch designer wants to create couture from unwanted materials to shake up the ecosystem of fashion waste.

It’s a worthy cause and – judging by the fact that its items are worn by the likes of Kate Moss, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry – a success story too.

On Tuesday, van der Kemp once again proved that you don’t have to be cruel to look good in a series of vibrant couture looks made from recycled materials – though you could be forgiven for not guessing that. they were.

A mini dress in Chinese white has been beautifully constructed with piled up strips of fabric, a long train and an impenetrable bodice. Elsewhere, sharp curved shoulders on a silky 1940s elderberry cut a timeless style with a chic sheer pencil skirt.

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