For the first time in a long time, Chanel unveiled their latest ready-to-wear collection somewhere other than the Grand Palais. The sprawling Parisian gallery space, home to so many of Chanel’s most iconic shows, is currently undergoing renovations—and creative director Virginie Viard took the opportunity as a chance to try something new. For Fall 2021, a collection dubbed “Coco Neige”, models packed into the iconic nightclub Chez Castel, a local institution since the ’60s.
“I imagined the models doing a show for themselves, going from room to room, crossing each other in staircases, piling their coats up in the cloakroom and going up to the next floor to get changed,” Viard said in a post-show statement. “And I thought of the shows that Karl would tell me about, back in the day, a long time ago, when the models would dress themselves and do their own make-up. So, I decided to go to Castel. I like Castel so much for its many salons, the spiral staircase, its bar, the journey through this venue, its little house style, where the models can get changed, dressed and undressed, do their make-up together, and have fun like a girls night in. It’s very sensual.”
The collection spoke to the kind of nonchalant Parisian chic embodied by the timeless style of Castel’s most famous attendees—women like Françoise Hardy and playwright Françoise Sagan. Slouchy suiting was finished in the brand’s iconic thick tweed, low-rise denim scattered with small Chanel logos, and oversized coats were worn over satin shorts and mini dresses.
Elsewhere saw the influence of après–ski, courtesy of overalls made in durable quilted puffer, woollen beanies affixed with giant ‘C’ brooches, and the shaggy shearling boots models stomped along the runway. And there was also a touching tribute to the great Stella Tennant—a long-time muse of Karl Lagerfeld’s, who died in December—via Scottish-inspired checked coats.
The show opened with Diana Ross’ soulful track “Do You Know Where You’re Going To”‘ from the cult classic film Mahogany—a reminder, as if we needed one, that we’re all heading toward an unpredictable future. Even amidst that uncertainty, Viard continues to pave her feminine, elegant, and hyper-modern road for the future of Chanel. Wherever we’re going to, we’d like to be decked out in her clothes when we get there.