Chanel’s latest runway show captured that very feeling with the Fall-Winter 2021 collection, which matched voluminous winter pieces suited to the slopes with dresses fit for the club. Because make no mistake; that’s exactly where Virginie Viard was transporting us this year in lieu of the Grand Palais, which is currently closed for renovations. Specifically, she was taking us to Chez Castel, the illustrious Left Bank nightclub that Jean Castel opened in the 1960s. The multi-floored club has played host to everyone from Françoise Hardy to Mick Jagger over its lifetime and has been an enduring icon of Parisian cool.
“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,” Viard explained in the show notes. “It’s very sensual.”
Contrast was the centerpiece; between volumes, materials and spirit. Think heavy tweed coats draped over delicate chiffon dresses, bare legs wearing voluminous boots in black curly faux fur and ski pants worn with short cropped jackets and black lace camisoles. The late Stella Tennant, a famed Chanel muse, was also an inspiration evidenced in the sequined ballet flats, strass-covered minaudières worn like a sautoir necklace, a man’s black shirt with a white collar and cuffs under a precious suit in navy lurex.
“I love contrasts, so for the more voluminous winter pieces, I wanted a small space. I don’t know if this is because of the times we live in, but I wanted something warm, lively,” Viard said, describing the atmosphere of the show.
“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. 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”.