Chanel Tapped Margaret Qualley and Sofia Coppola For Fall 2021 Couture

Margaret Qualley, wearing Chanel couture, standing in front of the Eiffel Tower
Photo by Mikael Jansson

Margaret Qualley snagged one of fashion’s most coveted positions on Tuesday as Chanel’s customary haute couture bride, following in the footsteps of ‘90s supers like Linda Evangelista and more recent muses like Lily-Rose Depp. Per tradition, Qualley led Chanel’s fall 2021 haute couture show’s grand finale, tossing a bouquet that smoothly flew into the hands of editor Laura Brown. The moment made it official: fashion shows as usual are fully back in Paris, complete with the global A-List in attendance.

While Chanel shows reliably take place at the Grand Palais, this season creative director Virginie Viard changed things up. She presented her latest at the fashion museum Palais Galliera, in the courtyard outside its current retrospective exhibit focusing on Coco Chanel herself. The short film previewing the collection, on the other hand, took place at Chanel’s atelier on rue Cambon. Qualley headed behind the scenes with Roman and Sofia Coppola, who filmed seamstresses putting the final touches on the embroidery and Qualley prancing around during her fitting. (As always, Sofia—a Chanel favorite—chose an excellent soundtrack: Siouxsie and the Banshees’s “Belladonna.”) It was actually a reunion for the trio, who also collaborated on a campaign film last year.

As for the collection, Viard nodded to the Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot and Cubist artist Marie Laurencin with details like water lily motifs and painterly tweeds. But inspiration mainly came courtesy of a series of old photographs of Coco wearing 1880s-style petticoats and padded skirts. Qualley’s sequined veil was actually a direct reference to the one featured in a pastel portrait of the late designer from the 1930s, which these days hangs in the Chanel studio. Though the looks weren’t entirely similar: Underneath her veil, Qualley wore a faux-hawk.

The grand finale of Chanel’s fall 2021 couture show, featuring Margaret Qualley.

Photo by Kristy Sparow via Getty Images
Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images