Chanel Bucks The Trend With A Horse And A Royal On Haute Couture Runway

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Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images

Over the years Paris’ Grand Palais has been transformed into some of the most elaborate and outlandish sets for Chanel’s fashion shows. Front row regulars have been transported to summer village weddings, a recreation of founder Coco Chanel's mirrored Parisian apartment, libraries, alpine winter wonderlands, a beach, an airport, a supermarket – the list goes on.

But today the luxury French fashion house broke new ground, by sending a royal atop a horse down its runway.

Chanel ambassador and showjumper Charlotte Casiraghi (the eldest daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco and the late Grace Kelly's granddaughter) was seen cantering down a winding catwalk on a thoroughbred Cousco, flanked by FROW viewers. Forget Naomi Campbell's strut and Gisele Bündchen's bounce because trotting will seemingly takeover as the new catwalk walk everyone will be copying next season...

Wearing a black tweed and sequinned Chanel riding jacket, Casiraghi looked at ease as she galloped on past Margot Robbie, Pharrell Williams and Vanessa Paradis at the Grand Palais, which was transformed for the occasion by artist Xavier Veilhan into a showjumping course.

Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images

‘His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld,' creative director Virgnie Viard said of the design, referencing the brand’s former director, who passed away in February 2019. 'Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses, and Charlotte is a skilled rider.'

The show – which featured sheer monochrome midi dresses, oversized tweed blazers and geometric-printed column dresses – ended in typical Chanel tradition with a bride, who held a bouquet of black flowers in memory of French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who passed away aged 37 on January 18 following a skiing accident.

Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pascal Le Segretain - Getty Images

The Haute Couture show marks Chanel’s first IRL in two years after it was forced to go virtual for its SS21 Couture show during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In October last year, Viard’s SS22 ready-to-wear show received a standing ovation after models sauntered down the runway in 1980s-inspired designs emblazoned with ‘Chanel lettering’.

‘I used to love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the 1980s, when the models were on a raised runway,' Viard wrote in the show notes, referencing the nostalgic Grand Palais Éphémère' on Place Joffre setting. 'I wanted to recapture that emotion.'

Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images

Months earlier, in January 2021, Viard recreated a summer village wedding for her SS21 Couture show, attended by brand ambassadors and experienced runway regulars Penélope Cruz, Marion Cotillard and Lily-Rose Depp.

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