PFW AW25 Haute Couture: Chanel

ITS IN this intermediate period since the announcement of Virginie Viard’s departure and the declaration of her successor that Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio are using the AW25 couture collection as an opportunity to reflect on the world of theatre – specifically Palais Garnier.

Paying tribute to the location, which they have been a major patron of since 2021, the opera house has served as more than four walls for performance but been an intrinsic part of the brand’s history and now also the set for the show.

Tracing the importance of theatrics through Chanel’s history, it was Gabrielle Chanel who supported friend Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes, and even designed the costumes for Le Train Bleu in 1924.

For AW25, it couldn’t be more apt that the in-house team decided to take a moment to breathe the same decadence of an evening at the Opera into the highest form of clothing – couture. Placing focus on opulent materials in the collection, Chanel explored every corner of their ateliers, utilising feathers, cabochons, embroidered, tweeds, velvet and taffeta to create the 46 looks.

Silhouettes arrived in varying volumes, either exploding or slim, with puffy sleeves all the rage and pleats promised only to classic tweed skirt suits. Tuxedos strutted in back corduroy or in culotte variations, jackets were fitted with shoulders swathed in feathers, and notably outerwear was a star staple, arriving in a parade of long coats, flowing capes and billowing, buttonless blazers.

Though the colour palette was restricted and dominated by black, feminine hues punctuated the collection as pale pink, rich golds, ivory and pops of celadon green interwove to highlight the delicate savoir-faire of the clothes.

And in true Chanel style, a bride closed the show. Given to model Angela Kendall, she walked down the corridors of Palais Garnier in a white tuffeta dress echoing a similar vibe to Princess Diana’s wedding dress in 1981. Designed with puffy long sleeves and exaggerated skirt, with a fully embroidered bodice of sequin camellias, and a bow in her hair to finish off the look, it felt like an apt closing for a show that was deserving of a standing ovation.

What comes next at Chanel is yet to be decided, but whichever direction the House takes, I’m sure there will be some theatrics involved and a reason to go to the theatre once again.

by Imogen Clark