The simple button is a small but essential detail that we often take for granted—we don’t even think about it when putting on a skirt, collared shirt or jacket. But Gabrielle Chanel knew its value, and she elevated this humble fastener by decorating it with embellishments, covering it with fabric and giving it a jewel-like quality that made it stand out on her pieces.

The button’s very existence has long helped provide freedom and movement in women’s clothing, and it was with this notion in mind that Virginie Viard brought it—and motion through dance, specifically ballet—into the spotlight at Chanel’s spring/summer 2024 haute couture show at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris this past January. “I often think about dance; it’s an important theme at Chanel,” says Viard in the show notes. “The house is close to its institutions, choreographers and dancers, and we create costumes for the ballet. I have tried to bring together the power and finesse of bodies and clothes in a very ethereal collection composed of tulle, ruffles, pleats and lace.”


The show opened with a short film, The Button, by pgLang, a multidisciplinary company founded by Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free; it was scored by the former and written and directed by the latter. “Our goal is always to evoke feeling,” says Free. “While spending time with Virginie and the wonderful Chanel team, we visited the archives and heard stories about the brand’s history, and it became very apparent that every single piece of haute couture has a unique path—this immersion made us aware of the emotional value of haute couture.”

The set, also designed by the duo, along with collaborator Mike Carson, recalled the film with a larger-than-life button centrepiece that descended from the ceiling as actor Margaret Qualley (who starred in The Button alongside Anna Mouglalis and Naomi Campbell) opened the show in a cream tweed jacket with a chiffon Pierrot ruff, a skirt with a sheer overlay, white tights, black shoes and a black bow tied in her hair. What followed was a collection that was light in both fabrication (thanks to the ample use of chiffon to create sheer layers) and colour (a palette of soft pastels punctuated by black), giving us pretty, chic Chanel ballerinas complete with leotards and tights. Details included tiny bows, lace belts, sequins, braids and small flowers for a very feminine collection that made one leave the show with a little spring in their step. And what more could you ask for in a new season?

Read more:
Chanel Honours the Magic of Dance
The Best Street Style at Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week
All the Celebrities We’ve Spotted at Paris Couture Week