The actress Margaret Qualley opened Chanel’s spring 2024 couture show inside Paris’s Grand Palais while a giant Chanel logo button descended from the ceiling. It was as close to a Karl Lagerfeld set as we’ve seen since creative director Virginie Viard took the helm in 2019. Wearing white tights, a matching blazer, and a mini skirt with a sheer panel, Qualley also sported a cheeky grin. Her outfit was topped off with a white neck ruff and a black bow on the back of her head. It’s safe to say the Poor Things impact is officially in full effect at fashion week.
Playfulness and the idea of dressing up for dressing up’s sake was clearly one of the major themes in the collection. Take, for instance, the fact that every single model wore white tights. It was a genius styling move that brought forth a very Victorian feeling. With black T-strap pumps, the look was only further emphasized. And after the world wholeheartedly embraced red tights, white feels like an obvious next move for the legwear trend.
Working with the theme of “beauty within the imperfection of time,” Chanel celebrated the button in more ways than one—and debuted a short film tied to the collection called The Button, starring none other than Qualley herself and featuring music by Kendrick Lamar. On the clothes, buttons of all sorts appeared on sheer dresses, on pockets, and all over colorful coats with rounded bottoms. The clear message? There’s whimsy in the details.
That whimsy continued throughout the core of the collection. The ubiquitous tweed blazer was reworked with a lightweight frothy layer of tulle. Big silver sequin camellias punctuated blazers. The tulle ruff continued on collars and sleeves. The wedding frock that closed the show was atypical—a mini dress with big tulle sleeves and a flowing cape behind it. It was a welcome embrace of couture clothing injected with punch and personality.
All those layers of tulle over tweed were a delicious exploration of texture, but they also felt right at home in the idea of girlhood and womanhood and how the two intersect in fashion. Nothing says as much about that topic as the big pale pink tulle skirt covered in a sea of pink mini bows. There were embellished bra tops and leotards styled over spandex tops and dresses. Between sequin jackets paired with big-pouch, floor-length tutus and layers of tulle peeking out from tailored dresses, it all resembled a high fashion version of playing dress-up as an adult. And in strange and worrisome times like these, what could be better?