Virginie Viard returns to the Grand Palais to stage her latest Chanel haute couture presentation but gone are the mega-productions of old. In light of the current restrictions in Paris, the show was an intimate affair—the only people in the socially-distanced audience being friends of the House like Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Vanessa Paradis. 

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Despite the conditions in which the collection was presented, the mood was one of lightness, evoking pre-pandemic summertime garden weddings—replete with floral arches and flower crowns. The sense of lightness carried over to the clothes, with full skirts that seemed to float more than flow, tiers of ruffles and flounce, explosions of bows, yards of delicate tulle and lace, and sugary macaron shades galore. 

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However, Viard ensured that the collection on the whole read nonchalant and sophisticated, and never too twee nor girlish. She accomplished this by playing off the masculine/feminine dichotomy—full swishing skirts were paired with mannish white shirts or simple slim knits; the tweed sets for which the House is known looked particularly alluring as vests-and-trousers combos. Even the finale bridal look, encrusted in pearl and crystal butterflies, came with a high collar and long sleeves. In short, the collection felt like exactly what women want to wear today—beautiful in a classical, timeless sense but without being extraneously fussy nor overwrought. 

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