Chanel designer Virginie Viard set the tone for the spring/summer 2021 Haute Couture show at the traditional Grand Palais in Paris, where the French fashion house is known to present its collections. Viard channeled all of our energy and desires to celebrate right now among close family, throwing a glamorous folklore wedding where her models debuted movable party wear underneath arches of flowers. “I love big family reunions, when the generations all come together. It’s so warm. There’s this spirit at Chanel today. Because Chanel is also like a family,” Viard said.

Sure enough, many of the well-known ambassadors were on the guest list: Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Vanessa Paradis, and her daughter, Lily-Rose Depp. They all posed for photographer Anton Corbijn in black-and-white “band style” portraits, wearing looks from Haute Couture collections past. The portraits, shot at the Haute Couture Salons at 31 rue Cambon (which have just been reopened and restyled by Parisian interior designer Jacques Grange), give off the vibe of the season (there’s no gathering without music after all!), but the video of the runway show, also directed by Corbijn, brings the vibrancy and color.

Committed to “always thinking about what women would like to have in their wardrobe today,” Viard included easy tweed pantsuits, inspired by men’s tailoring and skirt sets with delicate embellishments. The more standout looks, like the tweed LBD, was embroidered with feathers by House of Lemarié, and the long gray halter gown made of tulle has embroidered macramé from Montex Atelier. It’s within these intricate details that we recognize the craftsmanship of couture, but Viard’s ability to make the clothes seem casually elegant, swingy, and fun all at once is a talent all her own. As with every Chanel Haute Couture show, there is a bride — this one seeking influence from the ’20s in a pearl-colored frock with a stiff high collar, cuffs, and tiny buttons down the bodice and skirt. Even though this is Chanel Couture, the attitude is that of a homey backyard ceremony, and right now, that juxtaposition is nice to see.

Ahead, take in some of the black-and-white portraits by Corbijn, then see all 32 ss21 Haute Couture looks.

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