Not for the first time, Virginie Viard used a Chanel show to pay homage to a late legend. On Tuesday, two years since paying tribute to Karl Lagerfeld in her first solo show for the house, Viard presented the Chanel’s Cruise 2021-22 collection with a subtle nod to Stella Tennant. The late Chanel muse and supermodel—who memorably wore the house’s infamous micro-bikini in 1995—had a penchant for bold jewelry; it was her refusal to remove her septum ring for a British Vogue shoot that caught the attention of Steven Meisel, who would become one of her closest collaborators. Viard went instead with lip rings and drew inspiration from Tennant’s rebellious spirit.
The show’s film location—Carrières de Lumières, a cavernous former limestone quarry in Southern France—was of utmost significance this season. It’s where Jean Cocteau, along with Pablo Picasso and Jean Marais, filmed Testament of Orpheus, Cocteau’s last film. (The poet and filmmaker had a bond with Coco Chanel, who costumed productions of his plays Antigone, Oedipus Rex, and Orpheus.) To Viard, the film is all about “simplicity, precision, and poetry,” which is why she stuck to black and white. (With the exception of some purple marabou feathers.)
Between Tennant and Cocteau, Viard was thinking punk. That manifested in fishnets, studs, spiky hair, and even logo tees, featuring the up-and-coming model Lola Nicon. (The teased hair also added a hint of scene.) The poetry came through in the finale, when models like Steinberg, Mica Argañaraz, Anna Ewers, and Jill Kortleve set a flight of doves free.