Chanel Fuses Constructivism with Spectacle for Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2022

Art-filled influences and ’20s-inspired silhouettes took center stage throughout Virginie Viard’s playful couture display.

Longtime Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld’s immeasurable legacy lived on at Chanel thanks to Virginie’s Viard’s art-infused Spring/Summer 2022 couture collection. Paris’ Grand Palais Éphémère was the backdrop for the heritage brand’s latest show, with French artist Xavier Vielhan transforming the venue into a chic horseback-jumping space. “The idea for the show’s décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan,” Creative Director Virginie Viard said in a statement. “His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld.”

Continuing with Lagerfeld’s love for over-the-top fashion spectacle, Charlotte Casiraghi—the granddaughter of Grace Kelly—opened the show on horseback while wearing an all-black tweed jacket accented by sparkling sequins. Fashion-wise, Viard continued to look to the tumultuous era of the 1920’s and ’30s with flounce-filled silhouettes and boxy, utilitarian daywear that invoked the design codes of house founder Gabrielle Chanel.

Not only looking to the early 20th century, Viard intertwined constructivist focal points—cylindrical shapes and pronounced shoulders—with a bespoke focus on embroidery that saw the French designer collaborate with the brand’s in-house embroiderers. Angular lines and sleek suits sets united with ultra-feminine evening wear. “These geometric shapes made me want contrasts, a great lightness and a lot of freshness: ethereal dresses that float as if suspended,” Viard explained.

Delicate bustiers of embroidered lace intertwined with columnar silhouettes and skirts that referenced the elaborate panniers of yesteryear. This season, Viard’s tweed propositions included an embroidered asymmetrical skirt set, an abbreviated all-blue pantsuit with gold accents, and an ember green and yellow mini dress donning sky blue feather fringe at the shoulders.

Finding her footing, Viard’s ’20s-inspired silhouettes invoked clear references of the ’80s towards the conclusion of the collection, seen through the all-white poof skirts and high-octane one-shoulder blouses that debuted in embroidered, feather, and sheer iterations. Bright laces and movement-filled macramé slowly merged into the collection’s finale look: a refreshingly simple a-line wedding dress that was accented by two-toned Mary-Janes and a deep blue bouquet of roses.

From Constructivist references to iterations of signature Lagerfeld silhouettes, Viard’s myriad of influences came full circle on Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2022 couture runway. “Lots of flounces, fringes, macramé, bright lace, iridescent tweeds, colourful jewelled buttons,” the French designer said of her playful creations. “These references also belong to Gabrielle Chanel, of course. It’s like a conversation that crosses time.”

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