For Fall 2021, Chanel Scales Down in Size But Not in Style

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When it comes to scale, no one does it bigger than Chanel. Its epic show archives have included massive rocket ships, gushing waterfalls, gallery-sized art installations, and mega-huge supermarkets. In fact, Chanel doesn’t do anything small, unless you count the occasional teeny-tiny bag. But, we’re in a new era of Chanel now, with Virginie Viard at the helm, and the brand has taken new direction under her leadership. This time around, for Fall/Winter 2021, one of the biggest changes we saw came down to scale. 

Instead of staging a show at the Grand Palais, as the house is traditionally wont to do, it headed to the Left Bank where the nightclub Chez Castel has been attracting the cool crowd to its colorfully lit, cave-like interiors for decades. Within a much smaller space, Viard showed big winter volumes, which fall in line with her love of contrasts. “I wanted something warm, lively. I imagined the models doing a show for themselves, going from room to room, crossing each other in staircases, piling their coats up in the cloakroom and going up to the next floor to get changed. And I thought of the shows that Karl would tell me about, back in the day, a long time ago, when the models would dress themselves and do their own make-up,” she explained. 

And the smaller space ended up being a clever invention, as it lent a more intimate look at the clothes, which were beautiful. Many of them came stitched with glittering embroidery, tracing striking patterns along the surface of fitted jumpsuits and slinky shift dresses. Chanel’s traditional tweed came in boxy shapes this time around with exaggerated lapels, while sporty pullovers were given a hedonistic update in cobalt blue glitter paillettes worn with a matching A-line skirt. There were chevron-patterned knits, logo-appointed separates, and slinky tops adorned with blinged-out Chanel chains (very Fall/Winter 1994).

Although this was Chanel’s ‘Coco Neige’ collection, which traditionally trades in ski and apres-skiwear, Viard truly brought the crush and hum of a vibrant nightclub to the Chanel client for Fall/Winter 2021.

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