The brand chose Kristen Stewart as their only audience member at their Métiers d’Art 2021 showcase that celebrated Renaissance women.
Chanel’s latest collection was held at the Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley (more commonly known as Château des Dames — the ‘Ladies’ Castle’) that previously housed Catherine di Medici. The French castle was a perfect backdrop to Chanel’s Métiers d’Art 2021 collection as it celebrated a long history of powerful Renaissance women.
Chanel’s annual Métiers d’Art collection celebrates the craftsmanship of Paris’ specialist workshops, known as; Lesage, Massaro, Lemarié, Michel, Lognon, Goossens. They are the few remaining custom-made luxury suppliers in the world of haute couture, devoted to detail and opulence.
The pandemic has forced many fashion houses to showcase their collections virtually or cut numbers drastically for physically show, but for Chanel, they only needed one audience member: brand ambassador Kristen Stewart.
Stewart sat gracefully as a slew of models in modern reiterations of Renaissance attire walked past her, with patchwork knits, pearl-strewn leather jackets, embroidered sleeves and waistbands, and a modern take on Medieval leggings.
The show notes stated: “Only powerful women can live in a castle.” A fitting sentiment from Chanel as the fashion house was built by a woman and made elite by the custodians that followed her. Much like Château des Dames, which housed powerful women that each touched it in different ways, bringing it to excellence in their own way.
“We don’t know if Coco was directly inspired by her, but it is highly likely because she so admired Renaissance women,” said Chanel’s creative director, Virginie Ward, in a statement. “Her taste for lace ruffs and the aesthetic of certain pieces of her jewellery come from there. Deep down, this place is a part of Chanel’s history.”
Tweed sorts were, of course, a staple in the collection, along with chequerboard skirts and wraparound skirts. While many looks were distinctly Chanel and others distinctly Renaissance inspired, a few leggings and bodysuits brought an unexpected 80s edge to the runway. A decision Ward made deliberately:
“I like everything to be mixed up, all the different eras, between Renaissance and romanticism, between rock and something very girly, it is all very Chanel,” she said.
Although Kristen Stewart may have been the only lucky spectator to the physical showcase, it’s grand celebration of Parisian craftsmanship and powerful Renaissance women has certainly stunned many.
Subscribe to FIB’s Weekly Alchemy Report for your weekly dose of music, fashion and pop culture news!