LE PARIS OPERA BALLET “desperately needed CHANEL” for its first performance in person since the start of the pandemic. The prestigious opening gala is often a highlight of the Paris calendar, but last year’s event (like most) was attended virtually due to France’s strict lockdown. However, with the City of Lights twinkling yet again – the gala made a triumph and fashionable late return on September 24, courtesy of the iconic French fashion house.
While CHANEL often dresses a stylish mix of actors, musicians and models, its latest partnership with the Paris Opera Ballet is hardly a surprise given the bilateral relationship between fashion and dance – and a little common history, thanks to their founder, Coco Chanel.
CHANEL and ballet have loved each other for nearly a century. From their runway showcasing the humble and chic bun to the popularization of the soft satin slippers known as ballet flats. These are the two art forms, love and fascination with all that is feminine and refined, which perhaps explains their close connection.
Coco Chanel would have experienced a “real aesthetic shock” while watching Stravinsky’s film The Rite of Spring in 1913. This eventually led her to designing the costumes for the production company, the Ballets Russes, some ten years later. Even after his death, the show continued … as the late great CHANEL Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with various choreographers for over a decade. But CHANEL’s latest patronage to the arts is perhaps the most poignant given the challenges fashion and performance have had over the past 18 months.
Running (or rather in pirouette), alongside Paris Fashion Week, the Opening Gala for the 2021-2022 season of the Paris Opera Ballet dazzled everyone at the Palais Garnier. The gilded gold hallways, expansive marble staircase, and spectacular floral installations of the iconic amphitheater completed a classic black tie dress code. But while a large number of beautifully dressed but masked celebrities, media staff and photographers were among the 750 guests, all eyes were, of course, on the designer-clad dancers.
“[Seeing] all of you here attentive, curious feels so good. First of all, I want to celebrate the joy, that which comes with the stage, of the dance, of the simple fact of being together ”, declared the director of dance of the Paris Opera, Aurélie Dupont, in her speech. ‘opening. She also showed off CHANEL, wearing jewelry and a black cotton waistcoat and matching pants from their 2021 collection. “It’s nice to be back, because the reunion is wonderful.
True to tradition, the first part was the Ballet Parade, a glittering parade of all the dancers in the company, from the youngest students to the principal or principal dancers as they are called. Like their star power within the company, the ten Étoile dancers were chosen by CHANEL. Each donned and twirled a sparkling, crystallized display of bespoke tiaras and costumes. The white silk-satin corsets and intricately detailed tulle tutus consisted of more than 1,300 elements, including more than a hundred stars, a thousand crystal shards and several transparent glass microbeads.
Although he only appears in the first part of the Paris Opera Ballet, CHANEL says the meticulous and wonderful costumes will stay at home, on stage. Members of the public will be able to recognize and savor the designs each year as The Star Dancers leap for the season opening gala.
The House of CHANEL IS ETERNAL, like the Paris Opera. We both want to preserve our heritage: the taste of BEAUTY and GRACE.
Paris Opera director of dance Aurélie Dupont
After a year of virtual events and loungewear, seeing such magic (even from afar in Australia) gives hope and optimism for the future of our arts community. Local designers, such as Toni Maticevski and Akira Isogawa previously lent artistic direction to the Australian Ballet in 2013 and 2020, respectively. Hopefully this time around aside, the local collaboration between the most resilient and creative forces will be even more intense. And for us wide-eyed spectators, we will soon be able to dress up, drink wine and witness the wonders of the performance. It will truly be a standing ovation for everyone.
Click here to see an excerpt from CHANEL’s enchanting evening at the ballet.
Hayley Peppin is an Australian lifestyle and entertainment journalist. You can find her on Instagram and Twitter.