The House of Chanel has long been associated with the world of cinema, whether it’s for the red carpet or on-screen wardrobe. Gabrielle Chanel’s foray into the American film industry began in 1930 when she met Samuel Goldwyn, the owner of the MGM studios, who asked her to transform his stars into fashion icons. After a brief stint, which included meeting and befriending the likes of Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Gloria Swanson and other stars, her experience in Los Angeles was cut short as the studios were inappreciative of Chanel’s understated and refined allure.
However, French cinema embraced the Maison with arms wide open. Chanel’s modernity and timelessness birthed countless iconic relationships such as the one with a young Romy Schneider who was quoted saying, “When I put on my first ‘Chanel’, I realised I would never want anything else…(…) Chanel is a couturier like no other… Because it is a coherent, logical ‘organised’ whole: in the way we say the Doric order or the Corinthian order, there is a ‘Chanel order’, with its reasons, its rules, its rigour. It is an elegance that satisfies the mind even more than the eyes.”
“When I put on my first ‘Chanel’, I realised I would never want anything else…" - Romy Schneider
Other notable collaborations include Pedro Almodóvar’s High Heels (1992) in which Victoria Abril wears a Chanel suit from start to finish, and Callas Forever by Franco Zeffirelli (2002). In 2016, several outfits were created especially for Kristen Stewart and Blake Lively in Café Society. In 2018, a suit from the Métiers d’art 2016/17 Paris Cosmopolite collection was made for Isabelle Huppert in the film Greta. In Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), Chanel naturally found its place with the ambassador of the House, Margot Robbie.
This year, Chanel announces another special partnership in the world of cinema with ‘Spencer’ by Pablo Larraín – the story of an icon, Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart. She wears both clothes and jewels by Chanel, and in particular, a beige organza evening gown embellished with gold and silver round, oval or leaf-shaped sequins forming floral branches, look 82, from the Spring-Summer 1988 Haute Couture collection.
In order to capture the essence of Pablo Larraín’s film as closely as possible, the House worked hand in hand with multi-award-winning costume designer Jacqueline Durran, who shares more about the collaboration here.
Can you tell us about the process of working on this film? How did you choose all the CHANEL pieces?
“I have worked with Chanel on movies over the last 15 years and have always really enjoyed the process and of course the wonderful opportunity to use beautiful things! I looked back through pictures of Diana for images of her wearing Chanel – most that I found were later than 1992 but there was one significant Chanel outfit that she wore when visiting Paris in 1988 – the red coat that she wore on arrival in Paris – this became the red coat worn in the Christmas church scene. The blue cardigan/jacket fitted very well with the style that she was wearing in our period – so I felt that it would fit in seamlessly. The Chanel costume jewellery we used was also perfect for our date and for Diana’s style.”