The Chanel Spring-Summer 2022 Show Displays Freedom in a Chic Way
A look back at Chanel's spring-summer 2022 fashion show that allows us to embrace the sunny days ahead.
by : Cynthia Quellet- Mar 14th, 2022
October 5, 2021: I open the curtains of my hotel room, which overlooks the rooftops of a grey and rainy Paris. My silk midi skirt and sandals won’t keep me warm. I opt instead for a white t-shirt and black trousers, which I put on with a quilted bomber jacket and a clutch bag courtesy of Chanel for the occasion. When in doubt, the nonchalant style of Parisian women is always a safe bet.
At 9:45 am, I arrive at Place Joffre, at the foot of the Champ-de-Mars, in a flurry of umbrellas and black cars. The Grand Palais – the emblematic venue for the luxury house’s fashion shows – is being renovated, and it is in the ephemeral Grand Palais, a temporary exhibition hall close to the Eiffel Tower, that the unveiling of Chanel’s spring-summer 2022 ready-to-wear collection designed by artistic director Virginie Viard takes place. I quickly pass by the photographers and street style regulars posing. After checking my invitation – and my health pass! -I sneak into the catwalk, one of the most popular of fashion week. After 20 months of pandemic, it is easy to assume that the teams and guests present are delighted, as I am, to be able to attend this show in person.
Amidst the celebrities, journalists and a few hand-picked influencers, I see some ladies, illustrious strangers with a singular elegance. Long-time customers, I think. Under the protective masks for the face, strictly, one guesses the effervescence of the reunion, the desire to fully live this moment of grace. This heterogeneous crowd, which I imagined to be intimidating, turns out to be genuine and benevolent.
I make my way to my seat, located a few metres from the catwalk, around which many photographers have already taken their places. “Fashion is about clothes, models and photographers,” I read in the show’s statement of intent, written by Virginie Viard. In this confidential space with the hushed atmosphere of the ephemeral Grand Palais, she wanted to recreate the emotion of the camera flashes that crackled around the catwalks in the 1980s.
Sitting in front of me, Sophie Fontanel, author and famous fashion critic, tells me in her ear that she finds the setting and atmosphere intimate. A little further on, I see Lily-Rose Depp, Charlotte Casiraghi, Caroline de Maigret and Kristen Stewart, the Chanel muses, taking their places in the front row.
The first notes of “Aline,” by French singer Christophe, play. On the catwalk, model Vivienne Rohner opens the show in a swimming costume, before giving way to Anna Ewers, wearing a black bikini with a white hemline and accessorized with thin belts that show off her waist. With her blond mane and frank smile, she evokes Claudia Schiffer, who set the catwalks alight in the 1990s, or Brigitte Bardot, the French icon of the ’60s in sunny Saint-Tropez. The tone is set!
The silhouettes are paraded at a steady pace, chic creations in the purest Chanel style. Or as Virginie Viard explains in a press release: “A lot of simple white swimming costumes with black or gold trims. Short dresses in pink or mauve tweed, fishnet skirts, jackets embroidered with multicoloured crochet and denim suits.” I’m eyeing the asymmetrical miniskirts, the colourful striped outfits that are just begging to be worn, and this sunny yellow ensemble that I’m eyeing. The look is accessorized with long necklaces, minaudieres and pumps with flared heels.
As for the models, they wander around with smiles on their faces and have fun posing for the duo of photographers and directors Inez & Vinoodh, who have taken their place at the end of the catwalk. The atmosphere is joyful, the antithesis of the quasi-military fashion shows where the tops walk without emotion, their faces closed. I soak up the atmosphere and savour the moment.
Barely more than 10 minutes have passed when a flock of models draped in black chiffon outfits, printed with butterfly wings, storm the podium. It’s the crowning moment, bringing the event to a fitting end. I stand up with the crowd. Heartfelt cheers and warm applause accompany this confident, romantic, airy and infectiously happy finale, led by “Freedom! ’90,” by George Michael. It’s over, but the magic remains. I leave the Chanel show fuelled by this wind of freedom which, even if it doesn’t make me forget the torments of the last few months, has at least had the merit of making me dream. Perhaps that is the real luxury!
Paris Fashion Week is also about:
– running into Canadian actor Dan Levy, who we loved in the series Schitt’s Creek, on rue Saint-Honoré, wearing a blue Klein mackintosh and Loewe trainers.
– seeing beige trench coats carelessly belted in the back everywhere… and wanting to buy one!
– Realizing that the Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal, where we’re staying, is on the Place de Valois, where the (fictional) Savoir agency in Emily in Paris is also located.
– Enjoying little stories from the fashion world! (reported by my driver who goes from fashion show to fashion show)
Influencer A: “Don’t you follow me on Instagram?”
Influencer B: (who has 3.5 million followers on this social network): “How many followers do you have?
A: “400,000 followers!
B: “Sorry, I don’t follow under a million!
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