Chanel’s Paris Fashion Week shows are legendary for their elaborate set pieces, which in the past have included the Grand Palais transformed into a train station, a shopping mall and a winter wonderland.
And usually the grandiose runway presentation is the hot ticket of Fashion Week with the industry’s biggest names both on and off the catwalk.
But For Tuesdays Haute Couture runway, the muses of the late Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld were MIA, despite the brand keeping up their reputation for spectacle by sending a horse down the runway.
The new Chanel muse: Chanel’s Paris Fashion Week shows are legendary for their elaborate set pieces, and on Tuesday the brand sent a real-life horse down the runway for its Haute Couture runway, instead of their usual favoured models
Tuesday’s show opened with Charlotte Casiraghi, the elder daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, accomplished equestrian and one of Chanel’s most recent ambassadors, cantering down the catwalk on a horse while resplendent in Chanel black tweed.
Anna Wintour was among those with a VIP seat, sitting just feet from the the brand’s four-legged model, but the A-list were missing from the audience and the catwalk.
Margot Robbie, Vanessa Paradis and Pharrell Williams were among the few stars spotted making their fashionable arrivals at the Grand Palais.
A touch of star power: Margot Robbie and Vanessa Paradis were some of the few Hollywood faces to make it to the show
Sitting pretty: Margot sat with film director Sofia Coppola in pink and black striped tweed
VIP: Pharrell Williams was seen makin his fashionable arrival at the Grand Palais earlier, dressed in a colourful cardigan and baggy jeans
Fashionable family: Pharrell arrived with his son Rocket Ayer Williams and his wife Helen Lasichanh
Hollywood star Margot looked stunning in a white tweed blazer and patent leather ankle boots, making for a leggy look.
Vanessa Paradis, a muse of Lagerfeld’s, looked gorgeous in an embellished floral top and black satin.
Pharrell dressed in a colourful cardigan and baggy jeans, topped off with Chanel’s coveted mini round bag, which retails for upwards of £3k.
Hot ticket: The Grand Palais hosted masked industry experts around a sweeping, curved runway
Model of the moment: Tuesday’s show opened with Charlotte Casiraghi, the elder daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, accomplished equestrian and one of Chanel’s most recent ambassador, cantering down the catwalk
Fashionable FROW: Anna Wintour was seen looking on as Charlotte and her horse opened the runway
Fashion’s top name: Anna was seen arriving in signature Chanel, donning a mask and her trademark sunglasses
This time last year the brand was forced to go virtual for its Spring/Summer Haute Couture show, after COVID 19 shut down the January PFW, and indeed the global pandemic has meant a marked decline in over-the-top, costly runway shows as well as the ability for international models to travel.
Back in 2019 Chanel attracted names like Normal People’s Daisy Edgar-Jones and long-time collaborator Sofia Coppola to the FROW.
The heyday of a-list models strutting down the runway is long gone though, with Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber last seen on a Chanel catwalk in early 2020.
Missing muses: The heyday of a-list models strutting down the runway is long gone though, with Gigi Hadid and Kaia Gerber last seen on a Chanel catwalk in early 2020 (pictured)
Legs eleven! Back in 2019 the Grand Palais in the French capital was transformed into the Villa Chanel as Kaia Gerber stole the show. COVID restrictions have meant the fashion house has scaled back it elaborate sets in the past two years
Remember this? The global pandemic has meant a marked decline in over-the-top, costly runway shows as well as the ability for international models to travel
It girls: Lagerfeld was known for his muses, propelling the likes of Gerber, Kendall Jenner and Lily_Rose Depp to super stardom in the years before his death (Depp and Lagerfeld pictured in January 2017)
Chanel’s latest muse: Charlotte Casiraghi
Chanel’s 2021 ambassador is Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco.
Her mother was a close friend and muse to Karl Lagerfeld, with Charlotte following in her mother’s footsteps, sitting front row at Chanel shows since she was a teenager.
11th in line to the thrown, she has dabbled in modeling, writing and producing alongside her status as a socialite.
Casiraghi chose Chanel to design one of her wedding dresses for her wedding to Dimitri Rassam in 2019
As part of her new role, she has starred in the Spring-Summer 2021 Ready-to-Wear collection.
Virginie Viard is the new creative director for Chanel, taking over from Lagerfeld following his death in February 2019.
Lagerfeld was known for his muses, propelling the likes of Gerber, Kendall Jenner and Lily_Rose Depp to super stardom in the years before his death.
In his 36 years as creative director, Lagerfeld’s collaborations with models, ‘it’ girls and the A-list, included show staples like his ‘Couture Brides’ defining the runway shows he oversaw. In turn, the Grand Palais spectacles and well-known faces on the runway attracted the stars into the FROW.
Meanwhile, Viard, who worked for Lagerfeld since 1987 before her rise to the top job, was described by Vogue in 2020 as ‘the least famous designer in fashion at its most famous house’.
In her previous position as Lagerfeld’s studio coordinator, Viard built up year-long friendships and collaborations with the craftspeople behind the Maisons d’Art, the characters behind the designs instead of the beauties who were dressed in them.
The Chanel show is one of 16 live runways taking place during the week, up from eight runway shows last season with COVID severely limiting which fashion houses could stage a public event.
Another seven houses will stage physical and video presentations for editors and clients this year; and a further six will be purely digital displays.
New approach: Virginie Viard is the new creative director for Chanel, taking over from Lagerfeld following his death February 2019, and has favoured to focus on the fashion rather than the spectacle
Stunning: Viard sent models down the sweeping runway in draped silks in Chanel’s signature black and white palette
Here comes the bride: The finale of every Chanel Haute Couture show features a Chanel bride, with Lagerfeld previously employing ‘it girl’ models like Claudia Schiffer, Kendall Jenner, and Cara Delevingne to close the show as his bride
Grand Palais: Chanel’s favourite venue was dressed with huge geometric shapes and featured a curved runway