STYLE SETTER: Rarely do models smile on the runway, and that remained true at Chanel’s Tuesday couture show.
But Margaret Qualley is not a model, and the trained dancer and actress beamed as she opened the show and strutted on the soft, creamy-carpeted runway.
“I didn’t want to fall down, and I succeeded at that, so I’m happy,” she said coming out of the show. She worked on her walk when she arrived in Paris.
“Last night I was in my pajamas and I asked Chanel to borrow some heels — because I never wear heels — and I walked around my hotel room in my pajamas until I found a walk that I thought would be appropriate, and then I tried to do it again today,” she said of her casual approach to training.
Qualley, who married musician Jack Antonoff last summer in Chanel, ushered in the “wedding flat” trend.
“I’m very tall,” said the 5-foot, 8-inch actress. “I always value comfort over style kind of across the board.” Still, she wore a black patent T-strap heel for the show.
Qualley also choreographed, danced in and codirected a music video for Antonoff’s band, Bleachers.
The actress said it was more about wanting to create something with her new husband than a drive to get behind the camera.
It wasn’t the plan, but developed through the filming process as she had a very specific idea of how her dance scenes should be filmed.
“I absolutely adored making it. It was just a really sweet, special time. I got to do it with my husband, and he’s my best friend….It was a labor of love. We just kinda wanted to make something that we could show the kids someday.”
But that’s not an announcement, she joked. “Oh, not for a long time,” she said of any future offspring.
Qualley is often billed as a ballerina, but downplayed the title. “I did a lot of ballet, but I was never the best at that. I always loved making up dances and did competitions. When I was 10 years old I made up my own competition with my friends and bossed them around making them learn my moves on the weekends.”
The music video reignited that urge, and she wants to start choreographing more projects. In the meantime, she will leave the directing to the pros like Ethan Coen. Their film “Drive Away Dolls” will premiere next month.
Qualley called it a “road trip, lesbian, B-movie comedy. I don’t even know, it’s just really fun,” she said, smiling through it all.
It was a walk down memory lane for Naomi Campbell. Her very first show was Chanel back in 1986, when she was 16 years old, she recalled.
“It’s incredible,” she said, of still being with the brand almost 40 years later. “But they still maintain the same DNA, the integrity, and they don’t change.”
She said that creative director Virginie Viard has stepped up following the passing of Karl Lagerfeld. “For me, it’s really difficult to see the line between Virginie and Karl, because she was always his right hand. I mean, it’s not easy to take over from Karl Lagerfeld. This is a big house to take over and she’s done that, remarkably.”
While Campbell has a few acting gigs under her belt, it’s not something she wants to pursue. “It has to be something that is completely a fun experience and a great character. Something that’s completely not me,” she said.
She likes “sticking to [her] day job,” she joked. That includes the Chanel short film that opened the show, as well as headliner walks like closing the Balmain show last week.
“My kids ground me,” she said of her two toddlers. She also cited her recovery, which she said is an ongoing personal process. “I’m not ashamed of it. I talk about it because it is something you have to share and you have to help others who need it, or who reach out for your hand to get help.”
“I’ve never really believed in my hype as a persona,” she added.
K-pop star Minji of NewJeans attended her first Chanel show after being named brand ambassador in May. “I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m more excited,” she said.
She declared the show “amazing” and said that she liked a pink two-piece dress.
“I have many tastes in music, so just like that, I have a lot of tastes in fashion too,” she said of her style.
Chinese actress and brand ambassador Xin Zhilei, star of “Blossoms Shanghai,” the first TV series from Cannes best director winner Wong Kar-Wai, was making her first appearance at a Chanel couture show.
She said filming the series was a challenging, three-year process. “It’s his style to have a really in-depth shooting process,” she said through a translator, of working with the legendary director. Xin is “very happy with its success, and to achieve the results” as it has become a global hit.
Xin joked that it would take another three years to work on a film version of the story, but that the team is “preparing to go abroad,” and hinted that a different cut may be in the works. “Maybe we’ll show it in 2024 in a film festival, hopefully.”
If she makes that legendary South of France film festival, she would be wearing Chanel. — RHONDA RICHFORD
IT’S A SMALL WORLD: Vetements may now be the fashion brand with the most inclusive size range in the industry — given that it just launched childrenswear, which on Saturday was hanging in the same Paris showroom as its 16XXL sweatshirts.
Creative director Guram Gvasalia kept his latest brand extension simple, making most of the designs for kids “mini me” versions of the main collection, including the army green bomber jackets it makes with manufacturing partner Alpha Industries.
There are familiar slogan T-shirts in sizes for kids ages four and up, although the anarchy symbol has been encircled in a heart, and raised middle-finger graphics have been replaced with peace-sign gestures.
Jeans were especially cute, some decorated with childlike doodles in ballpoint pen; others dotted with enough utility pockets to carry peanut-butter-and-jam sandwiches for the whole first grade class.
Gvaslia, who has a lot of famous friends in the music business — including J Balvin, Avril Lavigne and Tyga — said some of them and other loyal Vetements clients would often tell him, “I want my kids to look cool, but like there’s nothing cool for kids.”
Those comments returned the front of his mind while on vacation, when he spotted a famous soccer player at the beach with his son in matching Vilebrequin swim trunks.
Gvasalia hinted at a big year ahead for Vetements as it celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Zurich-based brand should be back with a runway show at the next Paris Fashion Week dedicated to fall 2024 womenswear, he noted. — MILES SOCHA
INDIE SPIRIT: Two L.A. brands that go great together, Clare V and Mother are teaming up on a capsule collection with indie spirit.
The 10-piece range, available Thursday, was designed by Clare Vivier and Mother’s Lela Becker and Tim Kaeding. It nods to their hometown with T-shirts, ’70s inspired trouser jeans, a denim vest patterned after a men’s suiting version from Vivier’s personal vintage collection, a belt, tote and a fanny pack, priced between $59 to $345.
“L.A. is a denim capital of the world and Mother has been a leader in this category with cute product, covetable jeans everyone is wearing, great marketing and an aura about them,” Vivier said of the brand that started with denim in 2010, and has grown into a full-fledged ready-to-wear label with men’s, children’s and now petites, all with a nonconformist vibe and fun style names like “Looker” and “Rambler.”
“I love that they don’t take themselves too seriously, so there’s a synergy there between our two brands. It’s kind of L.A., too, for us to inject lightness into our product,” Vivier continued of her kinship with Becker and Kaeding, who last year collaborated with the estate of David Bowie on a Ziggy Stardust-inspired capsule, and often mine rock ‘n’ roll, ’60s and ’70s inspired graphics, Western and Americana themes in their collections.
“The whole idea behind the collab was the Parisian comes to L.A.,” Kaeding said of Vivier, whose brand has a Cal French aesthetic, and often uses French phrases as decorative elements. “She’s more French leaning, and we’re fun and quirky…We both drew off each other’s strengths. We made something a little more Parisian and serious, trousers, a vest and long shirt, then we put our prints and wacky artwork on her stuff.”
“I have not done denim apparel, which is very intimidating to me; it’s something you have to do really well, so I’m happy our first time going into it is with such an experienced brand,” added Vivier, who has so far been growing her brand’s apparel category with shirting, dresses, skirts and knits.
And Mother, as it turns out, has been mulling a move into the accessories category, said Becker. “It seems like a natural extension of our brand and this was a great experiment.” — BOOTH MOORE
BUILDING BUZZ: The buzz is beginning to build for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Paris in July, and J.Lindeberg is offering a preview of what the American golf teams will be wearing for their tournaments.
The brand has been chosen as the official clothing partner for the U.S. men’s and women’s golf teams for both Paris and Los Angeles in 2028. The company is unveiling the Paris collection at the PGA Show in Orlando, Fla., through Friday.
J.Lindeberg’s USA Golf Collection blends performance and style and pays homage to the American flag with its red, white and blue palette. The line features fabrics including ClimaCool and 37.5 to keep the players cool and comfortable, UV50 sun protection and high-flexibility fabrics. Each garment is made using 3D technology to create articulated lines that enhance movement.
Key pieces include printed compression tops for women; updated polo shirts for men; skirts for women; tracksuits and shorts; half-zip sweaters; joggers for men; golf shoes, and a golf bag. There are also hoodies and varsity jackets sporting bold American-themed graphics.
“We are thrilled to reveal our full USA Golf Collection to the press and attendees in Orlando at the upcoming PGA Show,” said Hans-Christian Meyer, chief executive officer of J.Lindeberg. “Dressing the USA teams for the Summer Games in Paris 2024 and Los Angeles 2028 will be an honor that underscores our commitment to excellence in golf and sportswear design alike.”
The collection for the Paris Games will be available for sale to consumers in early June before it is showcased on the athletes the next month. It will retail for $20 to $1,295 and will be sold on the J.Lindeberg site in the U.S. as well PGA Superstores, Golf Galaxy and other green grass and specialty store retailers. — JEAN E. PALMIERI
FAN CLUB: With his Pièce Unique collection of one-off designs, Gherardo Felloni continues to expand the lexicon at Roger Vivier in what he sees as a tribute to a master. “I really relate Roger Vivier to a silhouette; he was not just a shoemaker, he was someone who changed everything,” Felloni said from behind his desk at the label’s headquarters. “There would not have been the New Look at Dior without Vivier shoes,” he said.
For the collection’s sophomore outing during couture, he designed a total of 12 bags inspired by flowers, employing a multitude of master artisans for each, as well as five matching waistcoats, newer territory for the label as Felloni transitions it to a full-scale accessories house, after adding his personal passion — vintage-inspired jewelry — to the mix a couple of years ago.
The jewelry references were clear in designs with a black velvet background with trembling silver embroideries embellished with rhinestones. Elsewhere, startlingly lifelike 3D floral motifs nodding to Monet were created with the help of a master plumassier, painted by hand to evoke violets, lilies and anemones, and glove-making techniques were used to individually represent each finger-like petal of black cat dahlias, a reference to Felloni’s favorite animal — he has nine mogs at home in Italy and one 18-year-old feline in Paris, he said.
Each piece took between 30 and 60 hours to complete, and involved the work of at least three different specialists. The buckles and chains on the designs, based on the Viv’ Choc model, were encrusted with hundreds of stones.
For Felloni, the exercise is also a means of preserving craftsmanship. For the artisans he works with, “it is not big business, but you cannot believe how happy they are to work on this,” he said. “It’s about creativity, and it really reconnects me with artisans and crafts that are disappearing.”
The first Pièce Unique collection, presented last July, has done well, said Roger Vivier chief marketing officer Eva Quirrenbach. “There is demand and price is not a barrier,” she confided. — ALEX WYNNE