At the Grand Palais Éphémère for Chanel's SS22 Haute Couture show, Charlotte Casiraghi emerges onto the runway in a tweed Chanel riding jacket atop a horse, moving calmly through the set – a sort of ode to a surreal show jumping course by Xavier Veilhan, and to horse girl's everywhere.
“The idea for the show's décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan. His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld,” says Virginie Viard in a press release. “I like this similarity of spirit between us, now and across time. In addition to creating the show décor with its references to the avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses and Charlotte is a skilled rider.”
It is here that the tone is set for the show, as Casiraghi canters off the runway and Adut Akech strides on, clad in a denim-blue coloured tweed suit, finished with jewel-toned crystal-encrusted buttons. Tweed takes the focus for the first 15 looks, as one of the key pillars of the historic French House. It is iterated in pantsuits and skirt sets; accompanied by knee-length dresses and evening coats worn as dresses rendered in iridescent weaves. Pale pinks are offered up next to powdery blues and crisp whites, lending to a sense of freshness throughout the collection.
Feminine gowns with babydoll waists follow, crafted from iridescent floral appliqué lace, hovering next to ethereal tulle that flounces and floats with the music which resounded through the space as Sébastian Tellier played oversized instruments. Viard worked with each of Chanel’s specialist embroiderers on the collection, which is, after all, they key to couture, and if anyone knows intricacy with dreamlike execution, it's the House of Chanel.
The embroiderers wove geometric shapes into the collection, counterpointing soft tulle with graphic black and white patterns. Glittering sequin embroidered crops and brasseries were paired with full satin skirts and fluid trains; translucent dresses ballooned over themselves. Sheer paneled gowns waterfalled into tiered skirts in tulle and colour-dipped silks, materialising as a feeling of looseness throughout the collection.
Chanel SS22 Haute Couture felt as though the arrival of Viard at the helm of Chanel has truly settled in. There is an ease about the collection, returning to core silhouettes, signalling that the heart of the house is what will always come through as an endless tribute to Gabrielle Chanel. It is quietly theatrical, evoking a sense of wonder through key details and atmospheric touches of carefully considered sets, music, and creative collaborators. After all, as Viard said: “These references also belong to Gabrielle Chanel, of course. It's like a conversation that crosses time.”
Watch the show and see the full Chanel SS22 Haute Couture collection, below.