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Chanel unveiled its latest collection in dramatic style at Haute Couture Week in Paris – by sending a real-life princess down the runway on horseback.
To the surprise of guests at the Grand Palais Éphémère, the French fashion house opened its show Tuesday with the help of Prince Albert of Monaco’s niece Charlotte Casiraghi, who is also a competitive showjumper.
Wearing a sequined Chanel jacket and black helmet, Casiraghi emerged on horseback, trotting down the catwalk accompanied by a live performance from musician Sébastien Tellier. With several high-profile guests in attendance, including Margot Robbie, Pharrell Williams and Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, she circled the room before breaking into canter.
Casiraghi, who is also the granddaughter of Hollywood icon Grace Kelly, was unveiled as a Chanel brand ambassador in 2020, having previously modeled for the likes of Gucci and Saint Laurent. Her mother, Princess Caroline of Hanover, was a close friend of the late Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld.
In a promotional video produced ahead of the show, Casiraghi said that the use of horses was in line with the story of Chanel and its founder.
“I immediately think of the story of Chanel and Gabrielle Chanel,” Casiraghi added. “Horses and riding were extremely important, if not instrumental, in her vision of the brand.”
The event’s striking set, which was littered with geometric objects and featured what Chanel called “equestrian curves,” was designed by French artist Xavier Veilhan. In Chanel’s promotional video, Veilhan said that he and creative director Virginie Viard wanted the models and clothes to “contrast with the beauty of the rider and horse.”
“It was also a way of aligning the very strong aesthetics of the horse with those of haute couture, and seeing how refinement and animality can combine,” he said.
Following Casiraghi’s dramatic appearance, the rest of the models filed out in the Chanel’s Spring-Summer 2022 Haute Couture collection. See the full collection in the video below.