A little bit over two weeks since Creative Director Virginie Viard left the Maison, Chanel is back in full swing. Because, we all know it too well, the fashion industry doesn’t stop for anyone. Yesterday, the Fashion Creation Studio of the French House put together a show at the emblematic Palais Garnier in Paris to present their Fall/Winter 2024 collection, which aimed to pay tribute to the location it took place in. The clothes were, true to the tradition of Haute Couture, grandieuse: capes, gowns, embroideries, tassels, feathers, tweed, taffeta, satin. The techniques, the materials, and the silhouettes reflected the rich history of Chanel and the unparalleled craftsmanship of its six different ateliers, where some 150 people work tirelessly to keep tradition alive and well.
For over six years, Chanel has been highly involved with the dance-related activities hosted by Palais Garnier. In 2018, they became the Patron of the dance season’s Opening Gala; in 2021, Patron of the Ballet de l’Opéra; and in 2023, Major Patron of the Opéra national de Paris. And almost a century before that, the Maison’s founder, Gabrielle Chanel, created the revolutionary costumes for the ballets Le Train Bleu (1924) and Apollon Musagète (1928). So, as you see, the codes of Chanel have been intrinsically linked to ballet for a long, long time now.
In the Haute Couture F/W 2024 show, you could see that. But more than linked to ballet as a discipline, the collection was more focused on the people attending the ballet, where they need to be dressed to the nines. And we see that from the get-go. Opening the show, a floor-length black cape with an intricate neck of layered ruffles and a jewel-like plastron makes jaws drop. From here, it gets better: the classic tailored tweed suit is reimagined in magenta, different shades of grey, royal purple, or lush green, incorporating everything from embroideries to plastrons to feathers. The silhouettes are just as rich and opulent. Sleeves are puffed, pleated, diaphanous. A long, pale pink coat is structured and with strong shoulder pads. In a handful of looks, waists are cinched, creating a perfect hourglass silhouette.
It’s rather unusual to see coherent collections when design teams lack leadership. We’ve seen it before in other major houses. However, it seems that Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio knows exactly who it caters to and what these wealthy clients want from them: the epitome of luxury, comfort, beauty, elegance. And that’s what they’ve offered. Who knows if this will be their only collection, because let’s remember that the Maison has yet to announce the new Creative Director. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy what the inner team does. And that’s great savoir faire.