Horse riding meets fine jewelry at the Chanel Haute Couture show – WWD

Chanel held its fall haute couture show at an equestrian center in the suburbs of Paris, but it wasn’t, as they say, Virginie Viard’s first rodeo.

The designer had vague memories of hosting a show at a similar venue when Karl Lagerfeld was creative director at the French luxury house and she was his right-hand man. And of course, Charlotte Casiraghi opened Chanel’s latest couture show in January on horseback.

“I love when a show is reminiscent of something we’ve done at Chanel before,” Viard, who has worked for the brand for more than 30 years, said during a preview. “I like these resonances.”

His way of concocting collections is instinctive: no crisp storytelling or precise references here. This season’s mix included his second collaboration with Xavier Veilhan on the set of the show, which again mixed constructivist and equestrian references, and incorporated a film of Chanel ambassador Pharrell Williams playing drums.

Horsey keys have also made their way into the collection. Tweed midi skirts were paired with black cowboy boots, and some were topped with matching wide-brimmed hats — a reminder that Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel began her career as a milliner.

There were coats for every occasion, from a navy military coat that opened to reveal sheer chiffon panels sprinkled with sequins and tiny ostrich feathers, to a 60s-style button-up coat dress in an openwork braids of pink wool.

Viard worked a long silhouette, with column dresses in lace and chiffon inspired by Chanel creations in the 1930s, and accessorized certain looks with pieces from the brand’s latest high jewelry collection, a tribute to the collection. “Bijoux de Diamants” created by the founder in 1932.

Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion and chairman of Chanel SAS, said it was one of the only brands able to present high fashion and high jewelry side by side. “There is a wow effect at Chanel,” he said. “It was very daring to develop both haute couture and jewelry, and Mademoiselle Chanel was the first to do so.”

The brand recently made headlines for planning to open dedicated boutiques for high-spending customers in Asia. Pavlovsky clarified that the idea was not to open separate stores, but to upgrade and expand its existing private lounges, which are attached to boutiques and designed to accommodate VIP shoppers when store traffic is high.

The first to be upgraded is the private lounge of its store in the SKP mall in Beijing, which receives up to 1,000 visitors a day. Chanel commissioned star architect Peter Marino to redesign the space, which opened in 2020, which is on a different floor from the boutique due to a lack of space available on-site.

Similar VIP dressing rooms exist in Paris, London and Hong Kong.

“But before opening disconnected lounges, when we open a new store, we will try to get more space and host these lounges within the store,” Pavlovsky said. “Our customers want to come to the store, they want to feel the energy and see the assortment, so you don’t walk straight to the private lounge without going through the store.”

The haute couture show in Paris, where customers order bespoke creations, is of course the most exclusive store of all. To cater to this elite crowd, Viard made sure to include plenty of chic evening wear options, including a black velvet pantsuit paired with the dazzling Soleil Doré necklace and attached brooch. Sun Talisman.

For the bridal finale, however, no such frills: Jill Kortleve was the picture of pastoral charm in a strapless white dress and fringed shawl.

Clyde P. Johnson