Bikinis and Belly Chains Are Back, According to Chanel

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While the mere mention of the name Chanel brings to mind sophisticated tweed suits, classic two-tone shoes, demure quilted bags, and little black dresses, there is an era at the house of Chanel that only fashion die-hards tend to remember. It was the 90s, and fashion was going through a surly transformation informed by both grunge and counterculture youth movements. And then there was Karl Lagerfeld in the midst of it, calling down a tornado of colorful bikinis, logo-dripping belly chains, and sequined club dresses. He was borrowing from hip-hop and bad-taste-turned-good, all done without shrinking from the controversy. The most iconic portion of this series of early-to-mid 90s Chanel shows was the free-spirited movement of the models on the stage, as they twirled, laughed, and mugged for the cameras.

Bikinis and Belly Chains Are Back, According to Chanel

At Chanel Spring/Summer 2022, Virginie Viard resurrected that same free-spirited style of performance, swapping Karl’s colorful bikinis for monochrome versions and shrunken sequined club dresses with tweed minis instead. The models also twirled and mugged for the camera, keeping the spirit of Chanel in the 90s thriving throughout the show. Belly chains were still a part of the line-up, as were soft shopper totes, flare-heeled Mary Janes, and pirate-y sandals. An intentionally gauche touch was tempered by a sophisticated line-up of sparkling double-breasted oversized jackets, rainbow-crocheted tweed dresses, dove grey slips, and more.

It was a meta examination of fashion’s innate voyeurism, and a splendid compliment to the show’s joie de vivre.

Beyond the spirit of Karl’s 90s lies another layer to the collection. For Chanel Spring/Summer 2022, Viard wanted to see how Chanel looked through the eyes of others. “Because fashion is about clothes, models and photographers… Today, I call upon photographers. I love the way that they see Chanel. It supports and inspires me.” To that end, she tapped Inez & Vinoodh, who created five films starring Lily-Rose Depp, Alma Jodorowsky, Jennie, Rebecca Dayan, and Quannah Chasinghorse-Potts, repeating gestures with cameras in hand. If you watch the video of the show, you will see Inez & Vinoodh themselves at the end of the runway, snapping photos of the models as they hit the end of the runway. It was a meta examination of fashion’s innate voyeurism, and a splendid compliment to the show’s joie de vivre.

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