Chanel's Entertaining SS22 Presentation Allows Models to Give Eye Contact
Closing Paris Fashion Week, nostalgic catwalk culture comes to life in Virginie Viard's homage to photographers.
Chanel runways have often been topics of discussion (remember that moment with Gigi Hadid and the catwalk crasher?), but never because of a huge amount of smiling. And yet, on October 5th, that's exactly what happened. Audiences for the show were invited into the temporary venue and welcomed by the sight of a gaggle of photographers lining the raised stage, hands and arms and cameras spilling over the clean edges. Late 80's/early 90's music played from above as friendly-looking models lightly bounced down the runway, smiling, laughing and posing playfully for the photographers swarming the edges. Apart from the presence of some contemporary faces in both the campaign material and front row seats - renowned Chanel friends Lily-Rose Depp and BLACKPINK's Jennie but to name a few - the flashing bulbs and relaxed 20th century atmosphere did a lot to set the collection against a familiar, sentimental backdrop.
The display opened with a montage of video clips executed by photographer duo Inez and Vinoodh, speaking to Viard's voiced motivation behind the presentation. “Because fashion is about clothes, models and photographers… Karl Lagerfeld used to photograph the Chanel campaigns himself. Today, I call upon photographers,” she spoke. “I love the way that they see Chanel. It supports and inspires me.”
The SS22 collection itself continued to be demonstrably light-hearted - a variety of layered monochromatic swimsuits laden with iconic gold Chanel chains kicked off, followed by a mass of sleek, sequinned day wear in the form of knitted suits, airy light blue skirts, midriff-revealing co-ords. The last portion of the show solely displayed pieces that seemed reminiscent of butterflies - gentle lashings of printed multi-coloured chiffon that the models enthusiastically whipped and swished for the cameras at their feet. The fabric seemed to continue to sway and float long after the model became stationary, literally dancing on air.
It’s been difficult to tell this fashion season, whether the rife unseriousness prevalent amongst multiple labels and their shows is coming from independent vision, or is motivated by the sheer and simple joy that the return of physical shows allows designers to frolic their garments metres from an in-house audience’s faces again. Never is it a more noticeable addition than at a Chanel presentation, a house renowned for seriousness in consistency and scale.
Perhaps it's the change of location (the brand's usual home of the Grand Palais is currently under renovation in preparation for the 2024 Olympics in Paris) or Viard's ability as a woman running a label for women to insightfully and implicitly infuse comfort and enjoyment into the creations she sends out; either way, it's refreshing and exciting to see such an aloof house conduct themselves with such tangible ease and fun.
Next, Check out Vivienne Westwood's Surprising Collection at Paris Fashion Week