With the most bizarre fashion month in history nearing its end, Chanel creative director Virginie Viard presented her Spring 2021 collection for the fashion house in Paris on Tuesday. The 70-look lineup, as Fashionista’s own Tyler McCall put it in her review, was one that was largely devoid of glamour, despite its inspiration. It referenced Hollywood’s red carpets, with Viard hoping to evoke a celebrity photocall, and was set on a stark white backdrop, complete with its own “Hollywood”-style “CHANEL” sign.
The ready-to-wear read as both charmless and sloppy, and that extended to the at-times haphazard beauty look as well. Many elements of this show came together to collectively communicate, “I really can’t be bothered” — and that included the hair and makeup, helmed by Damien Boissinot and Lucia Pica, respectively.
Notably, it’s the first season in years that Sam McKnight had not keyed the hair for Chanel. Boissinot stepped into the role with some expected elements and some of his own grittiness: Most models in the show sported deep side parts (which we’ve seen in seasons past on the brand’s runway), but this time around, they adorned hair that was sleek and shellacked toward the crown and then messily pulled into low ponytails. We’re used to seeing ample hair accessories at the Chanel show — typically joyful, cheeky, more-is-more confections — but for Spring 2021, we were given only a handful of barrettes, headbands and black netted veils (which, in some cases, had also been fashioned into makeshift hair bows).
As for the makeup, Pica, who serves as Chanel Global Creative Makeup and Color Designer, went for sooty, black-smudged eyes, groomed brows and pale, rosebud-colored lips. Models’ nails were coated in shiny black polish. While the whole effect hinted on grunge and tiptoed on the brink of goth, the look embraced neither aesthetic in a direct way. It did, however, build on the current trend of focusing mainly on the eyes, giving them an intensity and a seriousness that could be read from the runway.
Then, there was the strikingly non-diverse model casting, which seemed like a significant regression for not just Chanel as a brand, but also for Paris Fashion Week more broadly. With so few models of color on the runway, a confusing collection and a beauty look that honestly felt a bit lazy, it was difficult to find true inspiration in the cumulative effect of this show. But perhaps that’s too much to ask amidst a global pandemic.
To see more beauty looks from the Chanel Spring 2021 runway, click through the gallery below.