Chanel showcases first collections after creative director exit announcement

Chanel has showcased its first haute couture collection since announcing the departure of creative director Virginie Viard.

The luxury French fashion house’s autumn-winter 2024-25 show took place on Tuesday at the Palais Garnier in Paris, known to be a haven of creative freedom.

The show at the historic opera house celebrated disciplines of beauty and patience, as models took to the runway in delicate ruffles and rich embellishments, affirming the longevity of the “coquette aesthetic”.

A woman wears a Chanel outfit with ruffled trims and powder hues
Ruffled trims and powder hues pervaded the catwalk (AP/PA)

The collection indulged in tradition, harking back to its heyday with Fifties silhouettes in the form of petticoats and peplums, evocative of a Chanel icon, Marilyn Monroe.

A model walks down the catwalk wearing an outfit of top and skirt with an Elizabethan court feel
Petticoats, peplums and ruffs harked back to Elizabethan court (AP/PA)

Despite revelling in classic shapes and modest necklines, more avant-garde layering was incorporated with capacious capes, ruffs and draped overcoats appearing in both day and night looks, displaying the versatility of vailing.

The use of facades encouraged those in attendance to question what lies behind the curtain for future looks under new creative direction.

A woman wears a Chanel outfit consisting of a jewel encrusted corset and cape
Jewel encrusted corsets made waves on the runway (AP/PA)

Each look was adorned with a grandiose bow in the model’s hair embodying a child-like innocence.

Chanel’s use of embellishment, rich embroidery and voluminous ruffles imbued a sense of grand romance that leant into the unapologetically feminine core of the collection.

A model wearing a black and white skirt suit walks down the catwalk
Skirt suits frequented the catwalk evoking Jackie Kennedy’s quintessential style (AP/PA)

However, the collection did not stray far from its roots with drop waists and skirt suits evocative of Jackie K featuring heavily, embellished in decadent jewels and supple tweed.

Chanel also brought it back to reality, playing with hardwearing and clashing textures – from patent leathers over beaded mesh to tasselled patches against wool.

Model Angelina Kendall wears a white Princess Diana-inspired wedding dress with a drop hem waist and ruffled flowers
Model Angelina Kendall plays Chanel bride to close the show (AP/PA)

Model of the moment Angelina Kendall rounded off the show with a Princess Diana-inspired wedding dress, featuring a drop hem waist and ruffled flowers.

The ode to the late princess evoked a point in time where fashion protocol was being disrupted, which may hint at what can be expected from the new creative direction at Chanel.

The fashion house announced Viard would step down from her role after five years earlier this month.

She took over as creative director from Karl Lagerfeld after his death in 2019.