A couture narrative that balances historical reverence with contemporary flair, Chanel's Spring 2024 Couture collection is a testament to the brand's enduring legacy and its forward-thinking vision.
Making its grand return to the Grand Palais after years of construction on Chanel’s longstanding show space (the construction on Grand Palais has seen them showing at the smaller Grand Palais Ephémère and other venues for the past few years), the French house was back with its traditional large format presentation with a Spring 2024 Couture show called “The Button.” And yawning over the runway was an enormous button bearing Chanel’s double C logo. The button, for Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, was a symbol of liberation. Free from the strictures of corsets and elaborate fastenings, the button represented an easy way to get in and out of one’s clothes – on one’s own. The button became an important motif at Chanel and played a central role in the Spring 2024 Couture show.
Preceding the show was a short film sharing the same name – The Button – starring Margaret Qualley, featuring a soundtrack by Kendrick Lamar. In it, Qualley goes on a quest all the way to 31 Rue Cambon to fix a missing button on her tweed Chanel jacket (with a little help from Naomi Campbell along the way). It turns out, this detail from the film was cleverly brought to the runway. On it, Qualley walked, wearing the same jacket from the film – sans button and all. This small imperfection spoke volumes of Chanel’s understanding of the importance of preserving pieces even after they have suffered the wear and tear of time. Couture is that everlasting wardrobe piece, the piece that is cherished and then passed down to future generations. It is the antithesis of modern consumerism that devours and devours without ever considering the consequences of so much mindless consumption.
This idea of cherishing history and heritage turned its eye toward another longstanding motif of the brand: ballet. Having costumed many exquisite ballets in its time, Chanel was well-equipped to tackle the idea on the couture runway. It came through in the form of leggings, leotard tops, and small injections of floaty tulle in surprising placements – like sprouting from pockets. “I often think about dance, and it’s an important theme at Chanel,” Creative Director Virginie Viard shared in the show notes. “The house is close to its institutions, to its choreographers and dancers, and we create costumes for the ballet. I have tried to bring together the power and finesse of bodies and clothes in a very ethereal collection composed of tulle, ruffles, pleats, and lace.”
Even with these ballet elements in the mix, make no mistake, this a couture collection and it delivered on the elaborately worked surfaces we have grown used to. Injected with an airy lightness, there were dramatic caped dresses, ruffled two-tier chiffon gowns, feathered minis, and embroidered coats in the mix while ruffs and cuffs added a hint of Edwardian-era dandyism to the line-up. Unlike Chanel’s recent camellia-themed show, which saw the house’s iconic flower bloom from every surface in every form imaginable, the button was not used to an extreme in the collection. It made its way onto several looks, in ways both practical and decorative, but it remained the understated hero.
The BUTTON, for Mademoiselle Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, was a symbol of liberation. Free from the strictures of corsets and elaborate fastenings, the BUTTON represented an easy way to get in and out of one’s clothes – on one’s own.