Equestrian style has been a fashion staple for centuries. What’s not to love about the sleek and sexy silhouette of a woman in breeches, tall boots, and fitted jacket? Both Hermes and Gucci began by making harnesses and horse gear before transforming their focus to human fashion. Think of the iconic Gucci snaffle bits on loafers and belts.
Now Chanel, the home of the Little Black Dress, has mounted the equestrian chic look in a big way. At the Paris shows this week a female rider and her horse cantered around the runway to an adoring crowd to launch the label’s spring/summer 2022 collection.
And this being Chanel, it wasn’t just any rider, but Charlotte Casiraghi, 35, granddaughter of Grace Kelly, who became Princess Grace of Monaco. Casiraghi is a Chanel brand ambassador.
Dressed in a Chanel black tweed jacket, Casiraghi, who was a top competitor in Europe at one time on the prestigious Global Champions Tour, cantered(!) around a special runway designed by artist Xavier Veilhan in the stunning Grand Palais, home of the annual Saut Hermès horse show. As the horse and rider rode around in the circle, a gorgeous film played in the background to illustrate the role horses played in the history of the brand, and that of its founder and namesake, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
The stunt was part of Chanel’s new artistic vision under Virginie Viard, who replaced legendary Karl Lagerfeld after his death in 2019.
Watch a video of the creative concept on Chanel’s Instagram account with the caption:
Graphic Resonances drawing upon the ancient bond between humans and horses, skilled horse rider Charlotte Casiraghi brings the equestrian spirit of CHANEL to life, reflecting the constant symbol of the horse in the life of Gabrielle Chanel and the artistic universe of Xavier Veilhan.
In the behind-the-scenes video, Casiraghi is interviewed in French. The rider admits that she’s hardly ridden over the last three or four years and was nervous about being able to do what the artist asked of her. But the result was a stunning display of pure fashion showmanship meeting horsemanship.
The stunt was not without controversy, however, with social media comments criticizing the use of live animals at a fashion show solely for the amusement of attendees.
You can watch the entire collection on Chanel’s official site, including the film that was produced for the show.