MANIFESTO

#63

CHANGE OF SPACE

Chanel Overture

2024.06.26

Text by Francesca Fontanesi

Presented in Paris, the Haute Couture FW 2024/25 fashion show pays homage to the Opéra Garnier. The collection, sophisticated and theatrical, plays with opulent materials such as feathers, velvet, and taffeta, modernizing a scenic tradition.

Presented in the French capital, the Chanel Haute Couture FW 2024/25 collection pays homage to the Palais Garnier in Paris. Although it has been recently renovated, it is now being prepared for the Olympic fencing competition, necessitating a new venue: French director Christophe Honoré was hired to reimagine the theater for the occasion, and his idea was to transport the red velvet boxes into the middle of its corridors. Since its inception, Palais Garnier has played a fundamental role in the history of fashion and the Maison: a place of performance and elegance, where everything revolves around glances, looks, and showing off. Simultaneously sophisticated, lustrous, theatrical, the collection plays with feathers, tassels, cabochons and embroidered flowers, precious braids, lacquered jersey, soft tweeds, silky velvet, illusion tulle, taffeta and duchess satin: opulent materials that rustle delicately yet do not go unnoticed. The show opens with a large black taffeta opera cloak, with a ruffled neckline framing the model’s face, whose hair is pulled back with a grosgrain bow. The classic Chanel skirt suit is renewed in salt and pepper tweed with tassel or fringe embroidery on the cuffs and hems, embellished with colored cabochon stones. This is followed by an evening dress with box pleats revisited in burgundy tweed trimmed with white satin, a black corduroy velvet tuxedo and a white blouse with an embroidered plastron, a black dress with long culottes and a short, fitted jacket with shoulders covered in black feathers; they dance among long, voluminous cloaks and evening gowns, evoking a modernized theatrical tradition and a certain science of opulence. Matte, shiny, lacquered: light reigns supreme.

gainst the backdrop of Opéra Garnier, the Haute Couture collection showcases the technical expertise, virtuosity, and sensitivity of the Chanel ateliers, where about 150 artisans work daily in six workshops at 31 rue Cambon.

“It has always been somewhat of a dream to perform at the Opéra,” says Bruno Pavlovsky.

 

 

 

There is something 18th-century about the lace and ruffles, bustiers, and cloaks; but also in the geometry of certain cuts, in the sense of drama. The volumes are diaphanous, the sleeves puffed, and the ruffles pleated. Richly embroidered, the collection infuses a romantic touch into the Maison’s codes. A mint green trapeze dress, suspended by black bows on the shoulders and worn over a black knit jumpsuit, serves as an interlude. A palette of lead, gold, silver, ivory, fuchsia, pale pink, and sky blue hints at the most enchanting of seances (it is no coincidence that attending a Chanel Haute Couture show inside Palais Garnier is truly a spiritual experience). The history of the Maison, linked to the discipline of dance, the avant-garde ballets of yesterday and today, and intimately tied, in its very creation, to the concept of movement, reappears in tutu-shaped creations, Pierrot-inspired dresses, references to the ballets Le Train Bleu (1924) and Apollon Musagète (1928) – for which Gabrielle Chanel designed revolutionary costumes – gowns for divas, princesses, and brides. The second part of the collection, the evening dresses, emphasizes the lacquered jersey used for the skirt of a long slip dress and the ruched bodice of the following look. In black, on a coat with double C buttons, everything shines under the foyer lights. The final act closes with a white taffeta wedding dress, cut along the voluminous lines of the gown worn by Lady Diana on July 29, 1981, designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.

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