Some of the best concepts for collections hone in on microscopic moments of our lives, the quiet times before something big, the inner reflection before sweeping onto stage, or entering a boardroom for a big pitch. These moments make us feel that not only are designers paying attention to our needs and what kind of armor we need to suit up in for such occasions, but they are also capable of being extrapolated to larger moments in our lives, to let us dream, to fantasize. That is fashion at its best.
For Chanel Spring/Summer 2021, Creative Director Virginie Viard narrowed her focus to the moment during a photocall right before an actress steps forward in front of a bank of photographers, when she places herself before the greedy eyeballs of the world. She turns, she smiles, she puts her hand on her hip, she juts a leg forward. She exudes confidence, ease, charm. But right before that, what is running through her mind? Anxiety? Doubt? Does she want to run and hide or does she embrace the moment?
While these are rare circumstances that few of us, save for the very famous, really experience, it is one that is recognizable. How many times have you been entering a situation where there was an unknown on the other side? It is a compliment to Viard that she considers these introspective times when designing a collection, and that she would ensure that her women and her muses would be perfectly dressed for whatever experience they are about to walk into.
Viard’s vision is captured at first by the set, which is a big blank wall against which enormous letters spelling the world Chanel tower above. It’s an immediate reminder of the Hollywood sign that looms in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. Models appear from backstage as if out of thin air, striding forward in a youthful array of vibrant printed tees, teensy tweed mini skirts, even teensier micro bags, and cap-toe shoes with a low heel. They came out in cropped moto jackets, one-shoulder embroidered mini dresses, baby pink walking shorts, and jet black beaded capris. They are the doyennes of the film scene, filling their public roles with scarcely concealed smiles on their faces.
It is a compliment to Viard that she considers these introspective times when designing a collection.
Twee ensembles gave way to romance with an array of black or white lace pieces – some as louche separates and others as prairie dresses fit for the cottagecore style revival. Others were in black and white, outfitted with flourishes of asymmetrical feathers, and the eye was ensnared by monochrome looks that were embellished with diamante chain belts and diamante bralette straps. Long strapless gowns, sheer caped two-piece suits, and gauzy printed dresses closed the show, with the final selection of looks seen on models that languished by the Chanel sign while the rest of the models took their final walk.
To capture the cinematic theme of the collection, Chanel enlisted Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin – aka Inez & Vinoodh – to snap photos that were staged to look like behind-the-scenes photos of an actress on a film set. “Because the world of Chanel evokes so many images, a whole unconscious that’s linked to cinema,” Viard explained. View three of the images below, exclusively on Savoir Flair.