Preparing the Métiers d’art show is always a positive challenge for CHANEL. No matter how many successful shows the brand may have under its belt, each new year poses a new question for every collection: Will it manage to do justice to the brand’s DNA? Will it contribute to its evolution satisfactorily? Will it meet the needs of the House’s countless friends and clients?
Earlier this year, acclaimed director Sofia Coppola joined Virginie Viard in the days leading up to the 2019/20 Métiers d’art show, for a special behind-the-scenes documentary, covering the extraordinary process needed for a production of this kind to come to life. Someone could have thought that for an artist like Sofia Coppola, with such a singular take on aesthetics, diving into a world with its own rules and semantics could prove a difficult task. But Coppola’s close relation to the CHANEL heritage (interestingly enough, she once used to be a CHANEL intern!) rendered the collaboration as organic as a collaboration could possibly be. Sofia knows the codes of the brand and speaks its language fluently.
In the video, Coppola succeeded in capturing the very essence of a grand CHANEL show. The passion, the nervousness, the attention to detail, the last-minute changes, the cinematic atmosphere and the impeccable craftsmanship that permeates every aspect of it, from the clothes to the amazing setting. High standards and natural elegance. That’s what CHANEL is all about and Sofia Coppola found the perfect way to remind us.
Sounds a bit strange but even the pioneers of fashion sometimes doubt their dedication to the industry. This year’s COVID-19 quarantine period had a huge psychological impact on Tom Ford, making it hard for him to even imagine designing a new collection: “I honestly wasn’t sure I could make a collection even if I felt inspired to do so… I felt that fashion should simply go into hibernation for a year.” Luckily for us, the restless designer overcame his blues and came up with a new spring collection emitting fun and optimism.
The key word for this collection is happiness. What Tom Ford aimed for, is a sense of hope, a smile, a positive kind of escape after months of isolation. To that end, he employed a 70s aesthetic -as illustrated by fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez- as well as his own 90s legacy. Colorful florals, silky dresses, relaxed blazers, animal prints, printed logo-waistband pants, tie-dyed caftans, pool robes and bikinis attest to a carefree vision of quirky stylishness. As Tom himself put it “the last thing I want to see are serious clothes”. In a time of fear and uncertainty, this collection is bound to connect us to the original purpose of fashion – creativity and expression beyond limitation.
But Tom Ford Spring 2021 Ready to Wear is not only about the literal aspect of wearability. It is also about makeup, which easily explains the photoshoot’s art direction and the emphasis given by Ford -who shot the look book on his own- on the models’ faces. The point is to evoke a holistic attitude of partylike nonchalance and to show that even difficult times consist of beauty and shiny sparks of joy. Mission accomplished.